Kini Naholo to get Super break
Fijian-born Kini Naholo is going to get Super Rugby debut on Saturday against the Hurricanes in Wellington. Naholo was named in the reserves for the Chiefs as they search for their first win in the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition. Chiefs head coach Warren Gatland made several changes to his 23 squad for the 7.05pm derby clash. The Chiefs front row has a reshuffle with Ollie Norris set to start for the first time at loosehead. Samisoni Taukei’aho earns the starting role shifting Bradley Slater to the reserves bench. All Black prop Nepo Laulala will again start at tighthead. Locking duo of Naitoa Ah Kuoi and Mitchell Brown will complete the tight five. All Black Luke Jacobson returns after breaking his hand to start at six joining captain Sam Cane at seven and the powerful Pita Gus Sowakula at eight.
First five-eighth Kaleb Trask will steer the ship at No.10 in the only change to the starting backline.
The re-enforcements off the bench include Waikato prop Rob Cobb, who will be hoping to make his Investec Super Rugby debut, alongside Taranaki back Naholo who has been named in jersey number twenty-three. Other changes to the bench include lock Tupou Vaa’i and loose forward Mitchell Karpik joining the 23.
Gatland said this weekend was a chance to develop a young group of men and finish on a high.
“This weekend is an opportunity to grow and develop some of our young players. We have two young debutants sitting on the bench who have been training hard and it is a good chance for them to get a taste of Super Rugby.”
“There is still a lot to play for in our eyes. The team have a lot of pride in the jersey and our club. As always, they will be leaving it all on the field,” said Gatland.
Chiefs: 1. Ollie Norris, 2. Samisoni Taukei’aho, 3. Nepo Laulala, 4. Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 5. Mitchell Brown, 6. Luke Jacobson, 7. Sam Cane, 8. Pita Gus Sowakula, 9. Brad Weber, 10. Kaleb Trask, 11. Sean Wainui, 12. Alex Nankivell, 13. Anton Lienert-Brown, 14. Shaun Stevenson, 15. Damian McKenzie.
Reserves: 16. Bradley Slater, 17. Robb Cobb, 18. Angus Ta’avao, 19. Tupou Vaa’, 20. Mitchell Karpik. 21. Lisati MiloHarris. 22. Quinn Tupaea, 23. Kini Naholo. -Chiefs