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Preview: Chiefs v Stormers

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Thursday, March 13, 2014    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

HEAD TO HEAD: Played: 16, Chiefs 7, Stormers 9

LAST TIME: Stormers 36 beat Chiefs 34, March 9, 2013, Cape Town

WALKING WOUNDED:
Lock Brodie Retallick is back in the side after he was cleared following the head injury suffered against the Crusaders. Tom Marshall comes into the side after recovering from surgery and will play his first game for the side at second five-eighths. Also back from injury is fullback Gareth Anscombe. Lock Michael Rhodes is out for the Stormers and replaced by Ruan Botha. Frans Malherbe suffered a toe injury last week but has a place on the bench. Having answered the SOS at hooker when Scarra Ntubeni was ruled out Stephan Coetzee has been named on the bench and if Malherbe is unable to take his place another replacement Martin Dreyer will move onto the bench.

FORM:
Unbeaten after two rounds of play the Chiefs have made a sound start to their title defence but have not yet hit their straps. Assistant coach Wayne Smith said that ensured there was still plenty for the side to work on in the build-up for games and they will understand they have a genuine test on Friday against a highly efficient defensive side. The Stormers had a poor start to the season but demonstrated against the Crusaders that they are a formidable unit who should build into a highly-competitive side the further the competition goes. Inspired by their captain and centre Jean de Villiers, and outstanding flanker Schalk Burger they should be right in the contest.

WE THINK: The battle in the loose is going to be fascinating in this game with the home team able to call on Liam Messam and Tanerau Latimer while the visitors have Burger, Deon Fourie and Duane Vermeulen. This is a crucial aspect of the contest. But in their midfield, the visitors have excitement and experience mixed with de Villiers and Damian de Allende. The big question for the Chiefs is whether they have the wherewithal to break down the Stormers' defence. The Chiefs should win, but it will be close.

TEAMS:?


Chiefs: 1.Jamie Mackintosh, 2.Mahonri Schwalger, 3.Ben Tameifuna, 4.Matt Symons, 5.Brodie Retallick, 6.Liam Messam, 7.Tanerau Latimer, 8.Liam Squire, 9.Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 10.Aaron Cruden (captain), 11.James Lowe, 12.Tom Marshall, 13.Charlie Ngatai, 14.Tim Nanai-Williams, 15.Gareth Anscombe.

Reserves: 16.Rhys Marshall, 17.Pauliasi Manu, 18.Josh Hohneck, 19.Michael Fitzgerald, 20.Tevita Koloamatangi, 21.Brad Webber, 22.Robbie Fruean, 23.Asaeli Tikoirotuma.

Stormers:
1. Steven Kitshoff, 2.Tiaan Liebenberg, 3.Brok Harris, 4.Ruan Botha, 5.De Kock Steenkamp, 6.Deon Fourie, 7.Schalk Burger, 8.Duane Vermeulen, 9.Nic Groom, 10.Demetri Catrakilis, 11.Gio Aplon, 12.Damian de Allende, 13.Jean de Villiers (captain), 14.Kobus van Wyk, 15.Jaco Taute.

Reserves: 16.Stephan Coetzee, 17.Oliver Kebble, 18.Frans Malherbe, 19.Siya Kolisi, 20.Nizaam Carr, 21.Louis Schreuder, 22.Peter Grant, 23.Sailosi Tagicakibau

REFEREE:
Craig Joubert