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Chiefs tweak front row for Bulls clash

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/03/2017

Chiefs hooker Hika Elliot offloads the ball against the Western Force at FMG Stadium in Hamilton. © Hannah Peters/Getty Images Chiefs hooker Hika Elliot offloads the ball against the Western Force at FMG Stadium in Hamilton. The Chiefs have made two changes to the front row for their Super Rugby clash against the Bulls in Hamilton on Saturday.

Siegfried Fisi'ihoi has earned his first start of the season, while Hika Elliot returns at hooker after coming off the bench in the Chiefs' 27-14 win over the Rebels last week in Melbourne.

The return of Japanese captain Michael Leitch from suspension means Liam Messam will switch to his preferred position at blindside flanker for his 150th Super Rugby game.

Leitch will slot in at No.8 while Sam Cane will play at open side.

In the backs, Johnny Faauli returns to the starting line-up at second five-eighth to partner All Black centre Anton Lienert-Brown.

Aaron Cruden will again be calling the shots at No.10 after being named in the reserves two weeks ago, while James Lowe is back on the left wing after being rested in Melbourne.

Damian McKenzie returns to fullback while the versatile Shaun Stevenson shifts back to the right wing.

On the bench, 28-year-old Southland hooker Brayden Mitchell could make his Chiefs debut while Mitchell Karpik gets the nod over Lachlan Boshier as loose forward cover at seven.

Chiefs: Damian McKenzie, Shaun Stevenson, Anton Lienert-Brown, Johnny Faauli, James Lowe, Aaron Cruden (co-captain), Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Michael Leitch, Sam Cane (co-captain), Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Dominic Bird, Nepo Laulala, Hika Elliot, Siegfried Fisi'ihoi.

Reserves: Brayden Mitchell, Kane Hames, Atu Moli, Taleni Seu, Mitchell Karpik, Finlay Christie, Stephen Donald, Solomon Alaimalo.

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