PREVIEW: Chiefs v Kings

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Friday, March 11, 2016    Getty Images

ROUND THREE: Kings v Chiefs, 2am NZT, Sunday 13 March, Port Elizabeth

The Kings solitary Super Rugby season in 2013 reaped just three wins, with two of those wins coming at home. The Chiefs took out the Kings 35-24 in an exciting match in 2013 and will be looking to repeat that performance to start their overseas tour on a high.

One test All Black Brad Weber gets a start at halfback ahead of Rugby World Cup winner Tawera Kerr-Barlow for this round three clash. The quick handed Weber will be looking to ignite the Chiefs backline with his speedy delivery and sniping runs. If he can provide spark and stability to the Chiefs line-up then it will pose some serious questions to coach Dave Rennie about who the first choice halfback is.

Although the Kings got routed in their first game against the Sharks, one bright spot was the performance of 21-year-old flanker CJ Velleman. The young loose forward effected four clean turnovers in the match – the equal most for a single Super Rugby match this year. If Velleman can be just as effective against the Chiefs then the Kings will really test the New Zealand side.

Japan captain and inspirational talisman Michael Leitch returns for his first start of the season. Relatively unknown to New Zealand audiences a year ago, Leitch was powerful at number eight for the Chiefs last year then stunned the world by leading Japan to victory over South Africa at the Rugby World Cup. The 27-year-old will add vital experience, graft and steel to the Chiefs side for this tricky South Africa-South America road trip.

It’s the start of a tough road trip for the Chiefs. After playing at home last week, the team has made the long trip to Port Elizabeth for this tricky round three clash. Almost immediately after this game, the side will travel straight to Buenos Aires for the Jaguares first home game. While it sounds like a very difficult prospect, the Lions showed that it can be negotiated successfully by picking up wins in Tokyo and Hamilton in the opening two rounds.


Chiefs: 15: Damian Mckenzie 14: Glenn Fisiiahi 13: Seta Tamanivalu 12: Charles Ngatai 11: James Lowe 10: Aaron Cruden 9: Brad Weber 8: Michael Leitch 7: Sam Cane 6: Taleni Seu 5: Johan Bardoul 4: Michael Allardice 3: Siate Tokolahi 2: Nathan Harris 1: Mitchell Graham

RESERVES: Rhys Marshall, Pauliasi Manu, Atu Moli, James Tucker, Maama Vaipulu, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Anton Lienert-Brown, Sam McNicol

Kings: 15. Jurgen Visser, 14. Luzuko Vulindlu, 13. Stefan Watermeyer, 12. Shane Gates, 11. Malcolm Jaer, 10. Louis Fouche, 9. Ntando Kebe, 8. Jacques Engelbrecht, 7. Thembelani Bholi, 6. Chris Cloete, 5. John Charles Astle, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Jacobie Adriaanse, 2. Edgar Marutlulle, 1. Schalk Ferreira

Reserves: 16. Sithembiso (Sti) Sithole, 17. Martin Bezuidenhout, 18. Tom Botha, 19. Schalk Oelofse, 20. Cyril-John Velleman, 21. Kevin Luiters, 22. Elgar Watts, 23. Jaco van Tonder