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PREVIEW: Stormers v Chiefs

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Friday, May 11, 2018    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Match details: Stormers v Chiefs, 1.05am Sunday 13 May, Cape Town
Played: 21
Won: Chiefs 11, Stormers 10

FORM
The Stormers have been flawless on their home track with five wins from five matches this season. Unfortunately their form hasn’t been as good on the road with six losses away from home this season. The Stormers are coming off two convincing wins against the Rebels (34-19) and the Bulls (29-17). The Chiefs have had their momentum stalled in recent weeks with losses to the Hurricanes and Jaguares but still sit inside the top eight of the total competition. 

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CRUCIAL CLASH
The Chiefs will be well aware of how important this clash is to their overall title hopes in 2018. After dropping two of their last three matches, the Chiefs need a victory to keep up with the leading teams in the New Zealand conference. With All Blacks Nathan Harris, Brodie Retallick, Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown on enforced rest next week for the Sharks clash, the Stormers match-up takes on even greater importance.

REINFORCED CHIEFS

The Chiefs have boosted their pack with the inclusion of All Blacks duo Brodie Retallick and Nathan Harris who were on the bench against the Jaguares last week. The return of Retallick to the starting fifteen means that impressive Canadian international Tyler Ardon moves to his preferred position of No.8. In the backline, Brad Weber takes the nine jersey for his 50th match while Johnny Fa’auli replaces Alex Nankivell at second five-eighth.
FAST FACT (Opta)
The Stormers have won nine out of their last regular season games when hosting a New Zealand side.

THE SCOOP
There’s no doubting that the Chiefs are at a crossroads in their season. After overcoming a horror-injury count early in the season to rack up a number of impressive wins, the Chiefs have slipped in recent rounds. Another slip-up in Cape Town could prove disastrous to their title hopes. The Stormers are extremely hard to beat at home and boast a number of game-breakers in the backline who can hurt even the best defences in the competition. The Chiefs will need big-game players Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown to step up and take control if they are to come away with the ‘W’ and get their season back on track.

TEAMS
Stormers:
SP Marais, Dillyn Leyds, JJ Engelbrecht, Damian de Allende, Raymond Rhule, Damian Willemse, Dewaldt Duvenage, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Kobus van Dyk, Siya Kolisi (c), Pieter-Steph du Toit, Chris van Zyl, Wilco Louw, Ramone Samuels, Steven Kitshoff. Reserves: Scarra Ntubeni, JC Janse van Rensburg, Frans Malherbe, Cobus Wiese, Nizaam Carr, Paul de Wet, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Seabelo Senatla.

Chiefs: Charlie Ngatai (c), Toni Pulu, Anton Lienert-Brown, Johnny Fa'auli, Solomon Alaimalo, Damian McKenzie, Brad Weber, Tyler Ardron, Liam Messam, Luke Jacobson, Michael Allardice, Brodie Retallick, Angus Ta'avao, Nathan Harris, Karl Tu'inukuafe. Reserves: Liam Polwart, Sam Prattley, Jeff Thwaites, Jesse Parete, Pita Gus Sowakula, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Marty McKenzie, Shaun Stevenson.