Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan has named his team to face the Melbourne Rebels in Sydney following a disruptive week.
The originally scheduled home game fixture at FMG Stadium Waikato will now take place at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney at 3.00pm (AUST)/5.00pm (NZT). The call has gone out to fans in Sydney to throw their support behind the Gallagher Chiefs by attending the match, with general admission tickets available to purchase via Ticketek Australia.
Three changes have been made to the Gallagher Chiefs forward pack; loosehead prop Reuben O’Neill and hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho will join Angus Ta’avao in the starting front row. They will be ably covered by a consistent reserve front row of Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris and Sione Mafileo. A youthful locking combination of Josh Lord and Tupou Vaa’i will start, with Mitchell Brown covering on the bench. Gallaher Chiefs number eight Luke Jacobson will wear the captain’s arm band and lead the side this Sunday.
In the backline Xavier Roe will make his first start in the number nine jersey shifting Brad Weber to cover on the bench. Roe will combine with Bryn Gatland in the halves. Quinn Tupaea gets the nod to start and will combine with Anton Lienert-Brown in the midfield, while Nankivell will shift to the bench named in jersey 22. An exciting back three has been named featuring Bailyn Sullivan on the left wing, Shaun Stevenson on the right and Kaleb Trask at fullback. Chase Tiatia will look to make an impact off the bench in jersey number 23.
McMillan said: “We were deeply disappointed we were unable to return home to face the Melbourne Rebels this weekend. Our preference was to play at home in front of our whanau, members, fans, and stakeholders. But we hope we get a good contingent of local Sydney Chiefs fans to come along and support us at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.”
“We have learnt in this new normal you need to be adaptable and despite the changes, the team has continued to prepare well. We are expecting a big game from the Melbourne Rebels, as a team we want to show those back home a performance they can be proud of and give them something to celebrate.”
Reuben O’Neill (13) Samisoni Taukei’aho (47) Angus Ta’avao (45) Josh Lord (4) Tupou Vaa’i (17) Pita Gus Sowakula (37) Lachlan Boshier (62) Luke Jacobson (35) © Xavier Roe (5) Bryn Gatland (7) Bailyn Sullivan (7) Quinn Tupaea (17) Anton Lienert-Brown (92) Shaun Stevenson (60) Kaleb Trask (15)
Bradley Slater (24) Ollie Norris (14) Sione Mafileo (8) Mitchell Brown (54) Zane Kapeli (5) Brad Weber (96) Alex Nankivell (41) Chase Tiatia (9)
() = Gallagher Chiefs caps in brackets
*denotes Gallagher Chiefs debut
**denotes Sky Super Rugby debut
Unavailable for selection:
Damian McKenzie (suspended), Jonah Lowe (hamstring), Kaylum Boshier (shoulder), Laghlan McWhannell (knee), Mitchell Karpik (knee), Naitoa Ah Kuoi (neck), Rivez Reihana (shoulder), Sam Cane (shoulder/pectoral), Samipeni Finau (shoulder), Simon Parker (foot).