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Damian McKenzie returns for Chiefs, Brodie Retallick to post Super Rugby century

Skipper Brodie Retallick will mark a century of Super Rugby matches when a bolstered Chiefs team meet the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday.

All Blacks five-eighth Damian McKenzie returns from an ankle injury that ruled him out of their opening 30-27 loss to the Highlanders last week.

Lively playmaker McKenzie replaces Orbyn Leger in one of five changes to last weekend's starting line-up for a clash with a Brumbies side who also began their campaign with a high-scoring setback on home soil against the Rebels.

Third-choice All Blacks halfback Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi replaces Brad Weber while Japanese Test winger Ataata Moeakiola will make his maiden start.

Nepo Laulala and Aidan Ross are promoted in a double change at prop.

One of them was forced by injury, with an elbow problem expected to sideline rising front-rower Atu Moli for a month.

The pack is otherwise unchanged, with world class lock Retallick likely to be desperate for success in his milestone match, having tasted defeat in his first game in charge.

Their hopes are boosted by the inclusion of McKenzie, who scored 23 points when the Chiefs last played in Canberra, prevailing 48-23 two years ago.

He could form a potent combination with All Blacks inside centre Anton Lienert- Brown, who beat 10 defenders and offloaded five teams against the Highlanders - the highest in both categories for any player across round one.

McKenzie's goalkicking should also bring an important improvement after that proved an Achillies heel last week.

Chiefs: 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Ataata Moeakiola, 13 Tumua Manu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Brodie Retallick (c), 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross.

Reserves: 16 Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17 Tevita Mafileo, 18 Sosefo Kautai, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Orbyn Leger, 23 Bailyn Sullivan.

Chiefs first-five Damian McKenzie in action during a Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and Brumbies played at FMG Stadium in Hamilton, New Zealand on Saturday 7 July 2018.

Copyright photo: © Bruce Lim / www.photosport.nz
Chiefs first-five Damian McKenzie in action during a Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and Brumbies played at FMG Stadium in Hamilton. Source: Photosport


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