Chiefs bring All Blacks firepower back to starting line-up for Super Rugby final

The Chiefs have, predictably, rung in the changes to the inexperienced side that lost to the Blues last week for this week's Super Rugby Aotearoa final against the Crusaders.

Damian McKenzie kicks the golden point penalty against the Highlanders. Source: Photosport

Head coach Clayton McMillan named the squad this afternoon ahead of Saturday's game by adding firepower across the line-up.

Aidan Ross, hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho and tighthead Angus Ta’avao make up the starting front row while locking duo of Tupou Vaa’i and Mitchell Brown will complete the tight five.

Brown's move from the loose forwards shifts Naitoa Ah-Kuoi to the bench, but doing so generated a powerful loose forward combination which sees in-form Pita Gus Sowakula shift from number eight to the blindside, Lachlan Boshier at openside and All Black Luke Jacobson return at number eight.

In the backs, halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi shifts to the bench as cover with the return of Co-Captain Brad Weber.

Weber will combine with first five-eighth Bryn Gatland who gets the nod in the number ten jersey while Alex Nankivell and All Blacks midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown will once again combine in the midfield.

In the back three, wingers Etene Nanai-Seturo and Jonah Lowe return to the left and right wings while the playmaker with the golden boot, Damian McKenzie, completes the line-up at fullback.

McMillan said the team are looking forward to the challenge ahead this weekend.

“On any given day, any team can be beaten, and we have proven that," McMillan said.

"This weekend we are going down to Christchurch with confidence and believe we can upset the Crusaders. The Crusaders have set the benchmark for the competition and we respect they are a great side, but we have earned the right to be in the final and have a job to deliver on Saturday.

“It wasn’t an easy selection for us, but everyone has played their part in getting the team to the final and for those not selected, they have played a big role to ensure we are prepared for this weekend.”

Saturday's game kicks off at 7pm.

Chiefs: Damian McKenzie, Jonah Lowe, Anton Lienert-Brown, Alex Nankivell, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Bryn Gatland, Brad Weber (c), Luke Jacobson, Lachlan Boshier, Pita Gus Sowakula, Mitchell Brown, Tupou Vaa’i, Angus Ta’avao, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Aidan Ross.

Reserves: Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris, Sione Mafileo, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Zane Kapeli, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Rameka Poihipi, Chase Tiatia.