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Donald leads Chiefs to Lions battle

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/06/2017 Angelo Risso

Don't be surprised if you see Stephen Donald nail a trademark early show-and-go against the British and Irish Lions on Tuesday.

Because the Beaver, leading his side, is ready to roar.

The 33-year-old Donald - a much-loved figure in Kiwi rugby after his 2011 Rugby World Cup exploits - will captain the Chiefs for Tuesday's clash in Hamilton and take up the playmaking reins from absent first five-eighth Aaron Cruden.

The veteran is just one of two players in the Chiefs' starting XV with more than 30 franchise appearances, along with centre Tim Nanai-Williams.

But with 100 Super Rugby matches and 23 All Blacks caps under his belt, he considers it wiser to let his midfielders do the running.

"We've got plenty of good carriers outside me so I probably won't even have a go all night, just throw it out to Johnny (Fa'auli) and Tim," Donald said with a laugh.

Donald has form as Chiefs captain against international outfits, putting on a virtuoso display at No.10 in last year's shock 40-7 mauling of Wales.

He said he was chuffed to have a second bite of the cherry, with the likes of Cruden, Brodie Retallick and Sam Cane on All Blacks duty.

"The Chiefs mean everything to me, so obviously a huge honour - I was lucky enough to do it once last year and very excited about doing it again," Donald said.

"With a few of our louder voices not here this week, other guys have stepped up compared to last year - that's been the big thing.

"We've all just got to take on roles and make the most of our opportunity."

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