PREVIEW: Chiefs v Rebels
Thursday, May 19, 2016 allblacks.com Getty Images
TALE OF THE TAPE
Just a couple of rounds ago, both of these teams were top of their respective conferences. A loss to the Highlanders has seen the Chiefs fall behind the Crusaders while the Rebels halve slipped behind the Waratahs and Brumbies in the Australian conference. The Chiefs will take a boost from the head-to-head record between these two sides which stands in their favour at three wins from four matches.
Rebels coach Tony McGahan has prepared his team for a counter-attacking onslaught from the dynamic Chiefs back line: “Counter attack is their bread and butter and what the Kiwis do so well, that transition from defence to attack and counter work. The big thing against good sides like that is to control the ball, field position and decide where and when you turn over the ball to them,” said McGahan.
After winning two Investec Super Rugby titles with the Chiefs, prop Toby Smith is returning to familiar territory to face his old side. The burly prop has been a rock for the Rebels over the past two seasons and earned selection in the Wallabies last year through his consistent form. With a number of injuries upfront to the Chiefs this season, the 27-year-old powerhouse will be looking to gain the advantage at set piece time for the visitors.
CHARLIE’S OUT, ANTON’S IN
In a big blow for the Chiefs, inspirational mid-fielder Charlie Ngatai has been ruled out through a concussion suffered in the loss to the Highlanders. Rising mid-fielder Anton Lienert-Brown comes in at second-five to partner with the powerful Seta Tamanivalu against the accomplished Rebels pairing of Mitch Inman and Reece Hodge.
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Chiefs: 15: Damian McKenzie 14: Toni Pulu 13: Seta Tamanivalu 12: Anton Lienert-Brown 11: James Lowe 10: Aaron Cruden 9: Brad Weber 8: Michael Leitch 7: Sam Cane 6: Taleni Seu 5: Brodie Retallick 4: Dominic Bird 3: Hiroshi Yamashita 2: Nathan Harris 1: Mitchell Graham
Reserves: 16: Hika Elliot 17: Kane Hames 18: Siegfried Fisi’ihoi 19: Michael Allardice 20: Tom Sanders 21: Kayne Hammington 22: Andrew Horrell 23: Sam Vaka
Rebels: 15: Mike Harris 14: Sefa Naivalu 13: Mitch Inman 12: Reece Hodge 11: Tom English 10: Jack Debreczeni 9: Nic Stirzaker 8: Adam Thomson 7: Colby Fainga’a 6: Sean McMahon 5: Lopeti Timani 4: Sam Jeffries 3: Jamie Hagan 2: James Hanson 1: Toby Smith
Reserves 16. Siliva Siliva 17. Cruze Ah Nau 18. Tim Metcher 19. Culum Retallick 20. Jordy Reid 21. Ben Meehan 22. Jonah Placid 23. Kotaro Matsushima
.@MelbourneRebels we're looking forward to having you over here in Hamilton this weekend! Gonna be a cracker #CHIvREB— Chiefs Rugby (@ChiefsRugby) May 17, 2016
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