'It's do or die' - Chiefs recall All Blacks firepower for quarter-final showdown with Hurricanes

The Chiefs have injected their All Blacks contingent back into their squad for this week's quarter-final clash with the Hurricanes after their 28-24 win over the Wellington side in Hamilton in the last round.

The Chiefs have made several changes to their starting XV as they head to the capital for the contest.

Whirlwind All Black Karl Tu’inukuafe and Nathan Harris are back in the front row, while Sam Cane also returns to the team at openside flanker.

In the backs, Damian McKenzie comes back in at first-five, with Charlie Ngatai starting at 12 and Sean Wainui slotting back in on the right wing.

Coach Colin Cooper said the team was ready to go up a gear now that the playoffs have arrived.

"It’s do or die at this point in the season, the winner takes all and we’ve talked about the importance of giving the best you can and your all for the jersey.

"We’ve put out a consistent team. Damian coming back brings a lot of X Factor into our game. We’re excited to see the combinations Damian, Charlie and Anton will bring as well as the leadership Sam Cane displays every time he takes the field."

Cooper added his side are aware of the threat the Hurricanes will bring at home.

"The Hurricanes are going to bring a lot of intelligent skills to the contest. I expect them to use a lot of variety and they have a very good backline so there’ll be lots of threats around the park."

Friday's contest kicks off at 7:30pm in Wellington.

Chiefs: Solomon Alaimalo, Sean Wainui, Anton Lienert-Brown, Charlie Ngatai (co-c), Shaun Stevenson, Damian McKenzie, Brad Weber, Liam Messam, Sam Cane (co-c), Lachlan Boshier, Michael Allardice, Brodie Retallick, Angus Ta'avao, Nathan Harris, Karl Tu'inukuafe.

Reserves: Liam Polwart, Sam Prattley, Jeff Thwaites, Jesse Parete, Mitch Karpik, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Marty McKenzie, Alex Nankivell.

Chiefs' Damian McKenzie is tackled by Hurricanes Ricky Riccitelli and Michael Fatialofa during the Hurricanes vs Chiefs Super Rugby match at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Friday the 13th of March 2018. Copyright Photo by Marty Melville / www.Photosport.nz
Chiefs' Damian McKenzie is tackled by Hurricanes Ricky Riccitelli and Michael Fatialofa during a Super Rugby. Source: Photosport


Watch: Bula! Flying Fijian Sevens stars get traditional vakamalolo welcome during San Francisco fan meet

The Flying Fijians Sevens team has been given a warm welcome to San Francisco after receiving a traditional greeting during their fan meet today.

The team was welcomed with a vakamalolo as they took time out from training for this weekend's World Cup to sign supporters' gear and take photos with fans.

The Fijians were pipped for this year's Sevens Series world title by the Blitzbokke in Paris and were denied a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games by the All Blacks Sevens.

However, they remain a fan favourite, with plenty of die-hard fans bringing flags, balls and jerseys to get signed ahead of the tournament kicking off this Saturday.

Fiji begin their campaign late on day one when they play the winner of Japan and Uruaguay at 3:50pm NZT.

Every game of the men's and women's Rugby World Cup Sevens will be live from July 21-23 on TVNZ's Duke channel - Freeview 13, Sky 23, and streaming on tvnz.co.nz.

The team is already proving a fan favourite heading into the World Cup. Source: 1 NEWS



'Every team is getting strong' - Black Ferns Sevens say Aussies aren't the only ones watch out for at World Cup

Australia isn't the only team the Black Ferns Sevens are keeping an eye on heading into this year's World Cup despite the rivalry with their trans-Tasman foes intensifying this year.

Playmaker Tyla Nathan-Wong says despite regularly seeing Australia in knockout matches during this year's tournaments, there's other teams on their radar heading into this weekend's event in San Francisco.

"It's a new tournament at the end of the day - everyone's had a month to prepare for this," she said.

The women's sevens side begin their campaign against Mexico on Saturday in San Francisco. Source: 1 NEWS

"Every team is getting strong. The likes of Spain, who beat the Aussies earlier in the year. France, who made their first ever final on the world series and the likes of the USA - on home soil, you can't count them out."

The Black Ferns Sevens faced off with Australia in the last two Cup finals in this year's World Sevens Series, taking out both with a 46-0 walloping in Langford and a comfortable 33-7 win in Paris.

However, it wasn't enough to snatch the overall title from the Australians who pipped them to the series trophy by two points after the Kiwi side's rough start to this year's series in Dubai.

New Zealand defeated Australia 17-12 at the death to win Comm Games gold. Source: TVNZ | Commonwealth Games

The team did get one back though after claiming the gold medal in a thrilling extra-time final against Australia in the Commonwealth Games.

The Black Ferns Sevens face Mexico in their opening match of the World Cup on Friday 20 July (kick off 6.50am Saturday 21 July NZT).

Every game of the men's and women's Rugby World Cup Sevens will be live from July 21-23 on TVNZ's Duke channel - Freeview 13, Sky 23, and streaming on tvnz.co.nz.

Tyla Nathan-Wong says teams such as Spain and the US are just as dangerous as their trans-Tasman rivals. Source: 1 NEWS