Durban – Despite several absentees, Chiefs coach Colin Cooper still managed to pick a strong team for Saturday’s Super Rugby encounter against the Sharks at Kings Park (15:05 kick-off).
Due to a national camp back home, the tourists are stripped of all their All Blacks for the fixture, and when injuries are also taken into account it means the Chiefs are without a total of 20 players from their originally contracted list of 38.
After beating the Stormers 15-9 in Cape Town last week, All Blacks quartet Damian McKenzie, Brodie Retallick, Anton Lienert-Brown and Nathan Harris flew back to New Zealand to attend a North Island Camp.
Shaun Stephenson is back at fullback which means captain Charlie Ngatai shifts to centre.
Marty McKenzie replaces his brother at flyhalf, while Sean Wainui returns after a week off in place of Toni Pulu on the wing.
Pulu remains with the squad and will look to impact the match from the bench.
Up front, Tyler Ardron is a strong presence in the second row.
The big Canadian will move back to lock to cover for Retallick after playing in the No.8 jersey at Newlands.
Hard-running young forward Pita Gus Sowakula gets another chance to start at the back of the scrum as a result.
While the Chiefs starting XV looks strong, there are a few unknowns on the bench.
Loose forward Matt Matich will make his debut from the bench, while prop Sosefo Kautai will play his first match of the season after four caps in 2017.
15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Makazole Mapimpi
15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Charlie Ngatai (captain), 12 Johnny Fa’auli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Liam Messam, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Tyler Ardron, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Liam Polwart, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe
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