Chiefs opt to rest Kane Hames over niggly shoulder injury

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NZN

Chiefs prop Kane Hames is being rested for the Super Rugby clash with the Western Force in Perth as he battles to overcome a shoulder injury.

Bulls' flanker Ruan Steenkamp fends off Chiefs' reserve Kane Hames during the Super Rugby rugby match - Chiefs v Bulls played at FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand on Saturday 1 April 2017.  Copyright photo: Bruce Lim / www.photosport.nz

Bulls' flanker Ruan Steenkamp fends off Chiefs' reserve Kane Hames during the Super Rugby rugby match.

Source: Photosport

The one-Test All Black has been replaced by Siegfried Fisi'ihoi at loose head, with assistant coach Neil Barnes saying the Chiefs didn't want to risk him.

"Kane's had a bit of a niggle for a while now and Ziggy has been playing well, so we've given him an opportunity to start," he said.

Winger Toni Pulu, who is carrying a knee injury, has dropped to the reserves to make way for Shaun Stevenson on the right flank.

"Shaun's one of those people that has lit things up off the bench which is good and now has his chance to stake a claim for the No.1 spot," Barnes said.

In midfield, All Black Anton Lienert-Brown has overcome a knee injury and will once again start with Sam McNicol.

McNicol, who normally plays in the outside backs, impressed the Chiefs coaches to get the nod again at centre.

"Sam's been dropped in the deep end really and made a good fist of it," Barnes said.

"He'll be even better now that he's got a game under his belt."

Hooker Brayden Mitchell has also been rewarded for his good form in South Africa, holding on to the No.2 jersey to keep veteran Hika Elliot on the bench.

Barnes said the Chiefs, who go into the match having lost to the Stormers and struggled to beat the Cheetahs, wanted to finish the tour on a high.

"It would be a bit different if we were going well and there might have been a little complacency." he said.

"But we haven't, so we're pretty driven to get things right."

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