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Preview: Chiefs v Rebels

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Thursday, April 10, 2014    Sportal.co.nz    Getty Images

When: Saturday, April 12 – 7:35pm (NZT). Where: Waikato Stadium. I can view it on: SKY Sports. What did they do last week? The Chiefs staged another remarkable come-from-behind draw with the Cheetans at 43-all. The Rebels went down to the Highlanders, also with a fast finish, 30-33.

Things you need to know: The Chiefs haven't won a game for four weeks and now they are back on home soil they know they need to put the ledger right. Look for an improved effort, even without the services of first five-eighths Aaron Cruden. His replacement Gareth Anscombe has been waiting for a chance to show his wares at No.10 and you can be sure he will be looking to make the most of it. He has been the subject of some curious criticism in the past but has undoubted skills to keep the Rebels busy. Scott Higginbotham was inspirational for his side in Dunedin and looks to be getting right back to his best form. His example has been great for the side and with Jason Woodward kicking goals like an automaton at fullback the Rebels look a far more competitive side.

Reason to watch:
The Chiefs have yet to put anything near a complete performance together this year. Saturday could be the night.

Reason to worry: The Chiefs need to get plenty of points on before that jetlag kicks in because the Rebels are good finishers.

Say what: "The worst thing for us in that match was scoring points. Because every time we did, they’d kick off to us and we simply couldn’t exit from our own half." – Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham of the Highlanders' loss.

Final instructions:
The Chiefs would want to have this one wrapped up early before the circadian dysrhythmia kicks in. They know they need a complete performance and if the forwards can provide a foundation through their aces flanker Liam Messam and lock Brodie Retallick then it will be a tough night for the Rebels. However, if the Rebels can get their skills together, and in unison, then it might be a tougher contest than many expect. But it is difficult to go past the home team who have something to prove. The Chiefs by six.

Teams

Chiefs:1.Jamie Mackintosh, 2.Rhys Marshall, 3.Ben Tameifuna, 4.Michael Fitzgerald, 5.Brodie Retallick (captain), 6.Tanerau Latimer, 7.Sam Cane, 8.Kane Thompson, 9.Augustine Pulu, 10.Gareth Anscombe (captain), 11.Mils Muliaina, 12.Bundee Aki, 13.Andrew Horrell, 14.Tim Nanai-Williams, 15.Tom Marshall.

Reserves: 16.Nathan Harris, 17.Pauliasi Manu, 18.Josh Hohneck, 19.Ross Filipo, 20.Liam Messam, 21.Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22.Anton Lienert-Brown, 23.Jordan Payne.

Rebels:1.Toby Smith, 2.Shota Horie, 3.Laurie Weeks, 4.Hugh Pyle, 5.Luke Jones, 6.Colby Fainga'a, 7.Scott Fuglistaller, 8.Scott Higginbotham (captain), 9.Nic Stirzaker, 10.Bryce Hegarty, 11.Tom English, 12.Mitch Inman, 13.Tamati Ellison, 14.Male Sau, 15.Jason Woodward.

Reserves: 16.Pat Leafa, 17.Cruze Ah-Nau, 18.Paul Alo-Emilie, 19.Caderyn Neville, 20. Sean McMahon, 21.Luke Burgess, 22.Tom Kingston, 23.Angus Roberts.

Referee: Matt O'Brien