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Chiefs make sweeping changes for Rebels

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/03/2017
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie © RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King Chiefs coach Dave Rennie

Coach Dave Rennie has made sweeping changes for the Chiefs' fourth-round Super Rugby match against the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.

It will be the unbeaten Chiefs' first trans-Tasman game of the season, following opening wins over the Highlanders, Crusaders and Hurricanes.

In the forwards, Bay of Plenty hooker Sabastian Siataga earns his first Super Rugby start after impressing in his debut off the bench in last week's 26-18 win over the Hurricanes in Hamilton.

Siataga will pack down between Kane Hames and Nepo Laulala, starting props for the fourth consecutive week.

The second row remains unchanged from the opening three rounds, with Dominic Bird and Brodie Retallick set to continue their impressive locking partnership while co-captain Sam Cane will don the No.7 jersey in his second appearance of the season.

Brodie Retallick of the Chiefs during the round two Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Blues at Rugby Park on March 3, 2017 in Hamilton, New Zealand. © Phil Walter/Getty Images Brodie Retallick of the Chiefs during the round two Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Blues at Rugby Park on March 3, 2017 in Hamilton, New Zealand.

Tom Sanders and veteran Liam Messam complete the loose forward trio.

Tawera Kerr-Barlow makes his fourth consecutive start of the season at halfback, while Damian McKenzie will marshall the back line from No.10 with Stephen Donald at second five-eighth.

Anton Lienert-Brown shifts out to centre while 21-year-old Northland outside back Solomon Alaimalo will make his Super Rugby debut on the left wing.

Shaun Stevenson is another to earn his first start of the season at fullback.

Chiefs: Shaun Stevenson, Toni Pulu, Anton Lienert-Brown, Stephen Donald, Solomon Alaimalo, Damian McKenzie, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Liam Messam, Sam Cane, Tom Sanders, Brodie Retallick, Dominic Bird, Nepo Laulala, Sabastian Siataga, Kane Hames. Reserves: Hika Elliot, Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, Atu Moli, Mitchell Brown, Mitchell Karpik, Finlay Christie, Aaron Cruden, Johnny Faauli.

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