Super Rugby Preview: Chiefs v Sunwolves

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Friday, March 1, 2019    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Match Details: Chiefs v Sunwolves, FMG Stadium, Hamilton, 7.35pm, March 2, 2019

Played: 2
Won: Chiefs 2, Sunwolves 0
Last time: Sunwolves 10-61 Chiefs, Tokyo
Referee: Frederico Anselmi


After going off the boil in the last quarter in their opening game against the Highlanders in the first round to lose 27-30, the Chiefs suffered one of their worst losses in recent memory when going down 17-54 to the Brumbies in Canberra last week. The Sunwolves suffered a 10-45 loss to the Sharks in Singapore in the opening round but pushed the Waratahs hard to go down 30-31 back in Tokyo last weekend.


Sean Wainui may have been part of the Chiefs' plans originally for the season but he has been called back into the side ahead of the Sunwolves game as they look to halt their run of losses and get their first win on the board. Wainui's experience has been preferred to the potentital talent of Ataata Moeakiola and Bailyn Sullivan and will be important in adding some steel to the side's defensive effort. The Sunwolves showed when cutting the Waratahs apart last weekend what they were capable of and the Chiefs cannot afford similar opportunities for the visitors this week. Orbyn Leger's placement at second five-eighths with Tumua Manu outside him, and Damian McKenzie inside, suggests there is equally plenty of fireworks potential for the home side if the pack can provide them with quality ball.


Five changes have been made by the Sunwolves from the side which met the Waratahs last weekend. Lock Uwe Hole gets a start ahead of Tom Rowe. Pauliasi Manu and Atsushi Sakate get starts in the front row. Former North Harbour second five-eighths Michael Little returns to start and lead the side ahead of Ryoto Nakamura while Jamie Henry will play on the wing ahead of Semisi Masirewa.


The Chiefs have every reason to play for a win on Saturday. They've lost their last three games, and that hasn't happened since 2011 when they endured five consecutive defeats.


Sunwolves wing Gerhard van den Heever leads the Super Rugby competition in metres gained per carry, among players with more than 10 carries, this year with 10.7m.


Chiefs: 1.Aidan Ross, 2.Samisoni Taukei'aho, 3.Angus Ta'avao, 4.Brodie Retallick, 5.Michael Allardice, 6.Mitchell Brown, 7.Mitchell Karpik, 8.Taleni Seu, 9.Brad Weber, 10.Damian McKenzie, 11.Etene Nanai-Seturo, 12.Orbyn Leger, 13.Tumua Manu, 14.Sean Wainui, 15.Shaun Stevenson.

Substitutes: 16.Bradley Slater, 17.Tevita Mafileo, 18.Sosefo Kautai, 19.Jesse Parete, 20.Lachlan Boshier, 21.Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22.Alex Nankivell, 23.Ataata Moeakiola.

1.Pauliasi Manu, 2.Atsushi Sakate, 3.Hiroshi Yamashita, 4.Luke Thompson, 5.Uwe Helu, 6.Hendrik Tui, 7.Edward Quirk, 8.Raboni Warren Vosayaco, 9.Kaito Shigeno, 10.Hayden Parker, 11.Jamie Henry, 12.Michael Little (captain), 13.Shane Gates, 14.Gerhard van den Heever, 15.Jason Emery.

Substitutes: 16.Nathan Vella, 17.Sam Prattley, 18.Asaeli Ai Valu, 19.Tom Rowe, 20.James Moore, 21.Jamie Booth, 22.Phil Burleigh, 23.Rikiya Matsuda.