Angus Ta’avao named to start in his 50th match for the Gallagher ChiefsCortez Ratima and George Dyer in-line to make Super Rugby Pacific debuts from the bench
Ta’avao, Boshier, Gatland and Lienert-Brown to all make first starts for 2022
The Gallagher Chiefs team to face the Crusaders at Orangetheory Stadium this Saturday has been named in what will be the first occasion the two sides have faced each other since the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa Final. The fixture will feature an impressive milestone for prop Angus Ta’avao who will bring up 50 matches as a Gallagher Chief. Ta’avao currently has 121 Super Rugby matches to his name, including 49 matches for the Blues and 23 for the Waratahs. The Waikato duo of prop George Dyer and halfback Cortez Ratima are possible Super Rugby Pacific debutants being named on the bench.
Gallagher Chiefs Head Coach Clayton McMillan has made several changes from his team who faced the Blues last week at Eden Park, particularly in the reserves.
In the starting forward pack, Angus Ta’avao will make his first start of the season to commemorate his 50th match in the Gallagher Chiefs jersey. All Black Tupou Vaa’i will move to lock in jersey number 4 and Kaylum Boshier gains his first start for the year at blindside flanker. The rest of the starting forward pack remains unchanged.
In the backline, Waikato halfback Xavier Roe will don the 9 jersey, pairing up with Bryn Gatland who makes his first start of the season at first five-eighth. Anton Lienert-Brown moves from the bench to start at centre, while Emoni Narawa slots in at fullback to round out the starting fifteen.
Changes to Gallagher Chiefs bench includes front rower George Dyer in jersey 18 who will be looking to make his Super Rugby debut, accompanied by either Tom Florence or Laghlan McWhannell in jersey 20 (to be confirmed). In the backline replacements, halfback Cortez Ratima could make his anticipated debut in jersey 21. Rivez Reihana and Rameka Poihipi may get their first opportunities to take the field this season, named in jerseys 22 and 23 respectively.
McMillan said the team is excited for the fixture and that it all starts up front when facing a team like the Crusaders.
“We are excited about playing the Crusaders who have quickly established themselves as the benchmark team again. There were a lot of positives to take from the Blues match, and if we can be a little more clinical and ruthless with our possession, we have the ability to stress any team. That said – it all starts up front. The Crusaders try and squeeze you through their set piece, we learned that the hard way around this time last year. We know what’s coming and the onus is on our big boys to front up, plain and simple. If we do that we will give ourselves a chance to play in a manner our sponsors and fans will be proud of. ” said McMillan.
McMillan also acknowledged Ta’avao’s forthcoming milestone.
“Angus is an invaluable veteran and brings a lot to our team both on and off the field. We look forward to seeing him run out for his 50th in our jersey this Saturday.” finished McMillan.
The 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa Final rematch will kick off at 7.05pm from Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch, live on Sky Sport.
Gallagher Chiefs to face Crusaders:
- Aidan Ross
- Samisoni Taukei’aho
- Angus Ta’avao (50th Gallagher Chiefs match)
- Tupou Vaa’i
- Brodie Retallick
- Kaylum Boshier
- Sam Cane (c)
- Pita Gus Sowakula
- Xavier Roe
- Bryn Gatland
- Etene Nanai-Seturo
- Quinn Tupaea
- Anton Lienert-Brown
- Shaun Stevenson
- Emoni Narawa
- Bradley Slater
- Ollie Norris
- George Dyer**
- Naitoa Ah Kuoi
- Tom Florence/Laghlan McWhannell
- Cortez Ratima**
- Rivez Reihana
- Rameka Poihipi
**Denotes Super Rugby Pacific debut
Unavailable for selection:
Luke Jacobson, Gideon Wrampling, Kaleb Trask, Mitch Brown, Reuben O’Neill, Simon Parker.