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PREVIEW: Chiefs v Sharks

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Round 10: Chiefs v Sharks, Friday 29 April, 7.35pm, New Plymouth

TALE OF THE TAPE
The Sharks are a team that love the grind. Six of their last seven matches have been decided by no more than an unconverted try with their last match producing a one point victory over the Highlanders. Recent history is relatively even between the two sides with the Chiefs winning five games to the Sharks four.

DAMIAN ‘STATS’ MCKENZIE
After nine rounds of Investec Super Rugby, no name features on the statistics table more than Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie. The 21-year old leads the competition in tries (7), points (120), metres (621) and defenders beaten (36). He is also second in ball carries, third in clean breaks and fourth in offloads. The Sharks defence will need to monitor the young star closely but cannot forget about the potent Seta Tamanivalu or classy Aaron Cruden in the backline.
TERRIFIC TARANAKI
Yarrow Stadium gets in on the Investec Super Rugby action for the first time in 2016 with this clash. Local fans will have plenty to cheer about with Taranaki players Seta Tamanivalu, Mitchell Graham and Lachlan Boshier all in action. CLICK HERE for tickets to experience the action as the Chiefs and Sharks clash in Taranaki for the first time. 

FRONT ROW FORCE
There has been a rejig upfront for the Chiefs with prop Atu Moli and hooker Rhys Marshall making way for Japan Test prop Hiroshi Yamashita and former All Black Hika Elliot. The two internationals join Taranaki star Mitchell Graham in a powerful front row trio. They will face a stiff challenge from the hardworking Sharks threesome of Lourens Adriaanse, Kyle Cooper and Dale Chadwick. On the bench, the Chiefs boast some grunt in Nathan Harris and Siate Tokolahi while the Sharks can call on former South Africa powerhouse Chiliboy Ralepelle.

TEAMS
Chiefs: 15: Damian McKenzie 14: Toni Pulu 13: Seta Tamanivalu 12: Anton Lienert-Brown 11: Sam McNichol 10: Aaron Cruden (co-captain) 9: Brad Weber 8: Michael Leitch 7: Sam Cane (co-captain) 6: Taleni Seu 5: Brodie Retallick 4: Dominic Bird 3: Hiroshi Yamashita 2: Hika Elliot 1: Mitchell Graham
Reserves: 16: Nathan Harris 17: Siate Tokolahi 18: Kane Hames 19: James Tucker 20: Lachlan Boshier 21: Kayne Hammington 22: Andrew Horrell 23: Shaun Stevenson

Sharks:
15: Willie Le Roux 14: JP Pietersen 13: Paul Jordaan 12: Andre Esterhuizen 11: Lwazi Mvovo 10: Garth April 9: Michael Classens 8: Daniel du Preez 7: Jean-Luc du Preez 6: Keegan Daniel (C) 5: Stephan Lewies 4: Etienne Oosthuizen 3: Lourens Adriaanse 2: Kyle Cooper 1: Dale Chadwick
Reserves: 16: Chiliboy Ralepelle 17: Thomas du Toit 18: Coenie Oosthuizen 19: Hyron Andrews 20: Jean Dysel 21: Stefan Ungerer 22: Joe Pietersen 23: Odwa Ndungane