Chiefs name inexperienced squad for clash with Sharks

The Chiefs have named a heavily depleted side to face the Sharks in Durban on Sunday morning.

The Waikato side is without key players for the Super Rugby fixture with their All Blacks remaining in New Zealand this week for a training camp this weekend.

As a result, Damian McKenzie, Brodie Retallick, Anton Lienert-Brown and Nathan Harris all needed to be replaced in the team.

Captain Charlie Ngatai moves to the centres to replace Lienert-Brown as a result, with Scott Stevenson slotting into fullback to cover while Marty McKenzie takes over his brother's spot at first-five.

Sean Wainui has also come into the starting XV after rotating on the wing with Toni Pulu.

The Chiefs have made just one change in the forwards, with Pita Gus Sowakula starting at No.8 while Tyler Ardron fills in for Retallick at lock.

Head Coach Colin Cooper says he and the inexperienced team are looking forward to the challenge.

"We are in our second week of this tough tour, and we were very happy to beat the Stormers," he said.

"We are looking forward to a great contest in Durban against the Sharks. It's going to be another tough game for us, but we are really excited about the challenge ahead.

"The team has united really quickly, and we are certainly looking forward to the challenge in the Shark Tank."

Chiefs: 1. Karl Tu'inukuafe, 2. Liam Polwart, 3. Angus Ta’avao, 4. Tyler Ardron, 5. Michael Allardice, 6. Luke Jacobson, 7. Liam Messam, 8. Pita Gus Sowakula, 9. Brad Weber, 10. Marty McKenzie, 11. Solomon Alaimalo, 12. Johnny Fa'auli, 13. Charlie Ngatai (C), 14. Sean Wainui, 15. Shaun Stevenson

Substitutes: 16. Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17. Sam Prattley, 18. Sosefo Kautai, 19. Jesse Parete, 20. Matt Matich, 21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22. Luteru Laulala, 23. Toni Pulu

Liam Messam.
Chiefs v Jaguares, Super Rugby, Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua, New Zealand on the 4th May 2018. Copyright Photo: Jeremy Ward / www.photosport.nz
Liam Messam Source: Photosport


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Watch: Crusaders coach Scott Robertson cracks a funny after 1 NEWS reporter nearly taken out by high ball

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson had the media in stitches at his side's training today, cracking a joke at 1 NEWS' Matt Hall-Smith's expense after nearly being taken out by a high ball.

With the media gathered around Robertson, an unnamed Crusader fired a bomb straight up into the Christchurch sky, narrowly avoiding their coach.

As the calamity died down, Robertson was quick to single out Matt before ribbing him with:

"That ball would have blown up hitting that hair-do of yours!"

Stephen never even saw the aerial bombardment coming during his piece to camera this afternoon. Source: 1 NEWS

It's not the first time a 1 NEWS sports reporter has been in the firing line, with Stephen Stuart finding himself on the end of some kicks while covering the British and Irish Lions tour last year. 

Matt Hall-Smith's hair came in for some stick from Scott Robertson, after they both nearly got nailed by an errant ball. Source: 1 NEWS


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Ben Smith to be rested for Highlanders clash with Reds

Highlanders fullback will miss his side's Super Rugby clash with the Reds in Brisbane next week, staying in New Zealand after the naming of the first All Blacks squad of the year on Sunday.

Smith, 31, has been named to start at fullback for the Highlanders for their clash against the Waratahs in Sydney this weekend, however he will be rested for the side's next match in a bid to preserve his fitness for the All Blacks' series with France.

With Steve Hansen and New Zealand Rugby implementing a policy of key All Blacks being rested for at least two Super Rugby matches this season, Smith's withdrawal from the Highlanders' squad will come after the fullback has started in every single one of his side's matches this season.

Speaking to media at Highlanders training, coach Aaron Mauger confirmed that his co-captain will sit out of the Brisbane clash.

"Ben is a little bit different," he said.

"He had his sabbatical last year, so he had a lot of time off. We also didn't play him in the (Brisbane) Tens, which was requested by the All Blacks."

The likes of Aaron Smith and Waisake Naholo have also been rested by Mauger so far this season.

Highlanders fullback Ben Smith in action during the Super 15 Rugby match - Chiefs v Highlanders played at FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand on Friday 30 March 2018.

Copyright photo: © Bruce Lim / www.photosport.nz
Highlanders fullback Ben Smith in action against the Chiefs in Super Rugby match in Hamilton. Source: Photosport