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Chiefs inject All Blacks back into starting line-up for crucial clash with Highlanders in Fiji

The Chiefs have wasted no time bringing their All Blacks back into the squad after naming a strong outfit to face the Highlanders in their Super Rugby clash in Fiji on Saturday.

The Waikato franchise has welcomed back the likes of Damian McKenzie, Sam Cane and Anton Lienert-Brown to the starting line up as well as cult hero Karl Tu'inukuafe.

The Chiefs are however without the services of Brodie Retallick, who is still recovering from a pectoral tear he sustained in the team's loss to the Crusaders at the start of this month - he is expected to return for the playoffs.

Chiefs coach Colin Cooper says his team hopes to build on the last time they faced the southerners, which ended in a 27-22 win for his men.

"It was good to win that game, we had to fight really hard so we know the challenge the Highlanders will bring. Whoever stays in control the longest in this game will be successful."

Cooper expects the game in Suva to be entertaining.

"The weather in Fiji is going to be great for two teams desperate to win. It’s going to be an entertaining game, a typical New Zealand derby played in a place where they love Rugby. We are ready to embrace the challenge."

Saturday's game kicks off at 7:35pm NZT at ANZ National Stadium.

Chiefs: 1. Karl Tu’inukuafe, 2. Liam Polwart, 3. Angus Ta’avao, 4. Michael Allardice, 5. Tyler Ardron, 6. Luke Jacobson, 7. Sam Cane (c), 8. Liam Messam, 9. Brad Weber, 10. Damian McKenzie, 11. Sean Wainui, 12. Charlie Ngatai, 13. Anton Lienert-Brown, 14. Toni Pulu, 15. Solomon Alaimalo

Reserves: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17. Sam Prattley, 18. Jeff Thwaites, 19. Jesse Parete, 20. Mitch Karpik, 21.Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22. Marty McKenzie, 23. Shaun Stevenson
 

Chiefs' fullback Damian McKenzie tries to wriggle out of a Highlanders' tackle. Source: Photosport


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