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Chiefs welcome back Quinn Tupaea as they prepare for Reds 'backlash'

The Chiefs are ready to face a "backlash" from a hurting Reds side when the two teams meet in Townsville on Saturday night.

Quinn Tupaea fends off Ngani Laumape during the Chiefs and Hurricanes Super Rugby contest in March. Source: Photosport

Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan acknowledged the Reds would be hurting from their loss on the weekend, but his side was prepared for that.

“The Reds are a far better side than what they demonstrated last week, and they will know that and be disappointed in their own performance.

"They were punished by the Crusaders and we are expecting a reaction. Brad Thorn is well known to us in New Zealand. I do not imagine he would have been too happy with that outcome, especially being a former Crusader.

"We are expecting a real backlash and we have talked about it all week and we are prepared for that.”

Four changes have been made to the Chiefs forward pack to take on the Reds.

Hooker Bradley Slater and tighthead prop Angus Ta’avao will join loosehead prop Aidan Ross in the starting front row, while replacement hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho and tighthead prop Sione Mafileo shift to the bench as cover alongside returning loosehead prop Reuben O’Neill.

The experienced Mitchell Brown returns from injury to join Tupou Vaa’i as the side’s locking duo. The powerful Pita Gus Sowakula and veteran Liam Messam once again change places, with Sowakula starting at six and Messam covering on the bench in jersey twenty.

Lachlan Boshier and Luke Jacobson will retain their starting positions and respectively don jersey seven and eight.

In the backline, Chase Tiatia will shift to the left wing in place of Jonah Lowe and Kaleb Trask will slip into fullback in the only change to the starting backline.

Waikato midfielder Quinn Tupaea, who announced re-signing with the Chiefs earlier this week, will return early from injury to cover on the bench. He will be joined on the bench by utility back Shaun Stevenson and halfback Xavier Roe.

Chiefs team to face Reds: 15 Kaleb Trask, 14 Bailyn Sullivan, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Pita Gus Sowakula, 5 Tupou Vaa'i, 4 Mitchell Brown, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Aidan Ross.

Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17 Reuben O'Neill, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Zane Kapeli, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Xavier Roe, 22 Quinn Tupaea, 23 Shaun Stevenson.