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Chiefs v Western Force - Super Rugby match preview
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The Chiefs have been forced into a number of changes for Friday's visit of the Force.
Tim Nanai-Williams (groin), Charlie Ngatai (hamstring), Andrew Horrell (ankle) and Richard Kahui (shoulder) have all been ruled out of the clash through injury.
Former New Zealand Sevens player Save Tokula, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Patrick Osborne and Robbie Robinson all come into the starting line-up, while Gareth Anscombe switches from full-back to fly-half.
There is also a long-awaited return for Ben Afeaki, with the prop joining Hika Elliot and Toby Smith in a new-look front-row.
Matt Hodgson will lead the Force for a record 93rd time in Super Rugby - with the flanker eclipsing the previous record held by Nathan Sharpe.
Hodgson, who has been at the club since it was formed, will captain a Force side that has made just two changes from the 11-11 draw with the Reds.
Australia scrum-half Brett Sheehan returns to the starting XV with Alby Mathewson dropping to the bench.
The other change sees Jayden Hayward named at full-back.
Chiefs: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Save Tokula, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Asaeli Tikoirotuma.
Force: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Patrick Dellit, 13 Ben Jacobs, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Brett Sheehan, 1 Pek Cowan, 2 Heath Tessmann, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 4 Toby Lynn, 5 Sam Wykes, 6 Matt Hodgson (c), 7 Chris Alcock, 8 Ben McCalman.
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Rory Walton, 19 Richard Brown, 20 Alby Mathewson, 21 Junior Rasolea, 22 Sam Norton-Knight
What they said...
Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie
"We are in the third mini leg of our season which is hugely important. We are well aware of the strength of this Force team.
"They have beaten the Reds and Crusaders and went close to the Hurricanes, which proves they can travel, so we need to be at our best."
Western Force head coach Michael Foley
"Our performance versus the Reds can be directly attributed to the squad's hard work and desire to play for each other and our supporters.
"Being able to repeat good performances is something every team aspires to and I believe the boys are taking important steps towards achieving consistency through the high standards they're setting and expecting of each other."
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|Friday 13th February|
|06:35||Crusaders vs Melbourne Rebels|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Reds|
|17:10||Lions vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 14th February|
|06:35||Blues vs Chiefs|
|15:05||Sharks vs Cheetahs|
|17:05||Bulls vs Stormers|
|Sunday 15th February|
|06:05||Waratahs vs Western Force|
|Friday 20th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Brumbies|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Waratahs|
|17:10||Bulls vs Hurricanes|
|Saturday 21st February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Reds vs Western Force|
|15:05||Stormers vs Blues|
|17:10||Sharks vs Lions|
|Friday 27th February|
|06:35||Highlanders vs Reds|
|11:00||Western Force vs Hurricanes|
|17:10||Cheetahs vs Blues|
|Saturday 28th February|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Crusaders|
|08:40||Melbourne Rebels vs Brumbies|
|15:05||Bulls vs Sharks|
|17:10||Lions vs Stormers|
|Friday 6th March|
|06:35||Chiefs vs Highlanders|
|08:40||Brumbies vs Western Force|
|Saturday 7th March|
|06:35||Blues vs Lions|
|08:40||Reds vs Waratahs|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com