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Chiefs v Blues - Super Rugby match preview
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has made eight changes to his starting line-up ahead of their Super Rugby encounter with the Blues on Saturday.
Richard Kahui will start at inside centre as he takes to the field for the first time this season as the Chiefs welcome the Blues to the Waikato Stadium.
Centre Bundee Aki, number eight Fritz Lee, flanker Tanerau Latimer and prop Toby Smith are all included in the starting XV as Rennie looks to close the gap on the Brumbies at the head of the table.
Augustine Pulu has been brought in at scrum-half after Tawera Kerr-Barlow broke his jaw while Brendon Leonard returns to the bench as he returns from injury where he will be joined by Nick Crosswell, Sam Cane and Andrew Horrell.
The lone change to the Blues starting line-up comes following Charlie Faumuina's torn calf against the Waratahs last week.
Angus Ta'avao will start at tighthead prop in place of Faumuina who looks set to be out for eight weeks.
A change in the starting line-up paves the way for former New Zealand U20 Ofa Tu'ungafasi to join the bench with the prop set for his Super Rugby debut.
Following back-to-back defeats John Kirwan will be eager to see his Blues side to return to winning ways as they take on the defending champions.
Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam (capt), 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Nick Crosswell, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Andrew Horrell, 22 Patrick Osborne.
Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Francis Saili, 11 George Moala, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams (capt), 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tom McCartney.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Anthony Boric, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Jackson Willison.
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