Hamilton – Ahead of their Super Rugby clash against the Lions, Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has made just two changes to the starting XV which defeated the Crusaders.
Up front, Maama Vaipulu gets a start at No 8, with Tom Sanders moving to blindside flank. In the backline, Latu Vaeno gets his first start on the right wing, with Shaun Stevenson forced to sit out the game due to a minor shoulder complaint.
Among the substitutes, Japan captain Michael Leitch is expected to make his highly anticipated return to Super Rugby, while former Warrior Glen Fisiiahi looks set to earn his first Super Rugby cap from the bench.
“This is a big game for us. We play the Currie Cup Champions, a side who were unlucky not to make the Super Rugby playoffs last year,” said Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie.
“While we were happy with the attitude and effort against the Crusaders, we know we can be more clinical and have learnt a lot about ourselves.
“It’s nice to get a bit of continuity from a selection point of view for our first outing at home.”
Kick-off at Stadium Waikato is at 06:15 (SA time) on Saturday.
15. Damian McKenzie, 14. Latu Vaeno, 13. Seta Tamanivalu, 12. Charlie Ngatai, 11. James Lowe, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8. Maama Vaipulu, 7. Sam Cane (captain), 6. Tom Sanders, 5. Brodie Retallick, 4. Michael Allardice, 3. Hiroshi Yamashita, 2. Rhys Marshall, 1. Pauliasi Manu
Substitutes: 16. Nathan Harris, 17. Mitchell Graham, 18. Siate Tokolahi, 19. Taleni Seu, 20. Michael Leitch, 21. Brad Weber, 22. Anton Lienert-Brown, 23. Glen Fisiiahi
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnal Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Fabian Booysen, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg