You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Kerr-Barlow return boosts Chiefs' defence

NZN 28/07/2016 By Angelo Risso

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie says his decision to replace incumbent halfback Brad Weber with Tawera Kerr-Barlow for Saturday's Super Rugby semi-final is a case of horses for courses.

All Blacks halfback Kerr-Barlow is promoted from the bench for his side's battle with the Hurricanes, despite Weber's strong form this year in the No.9 jersey.

Weber will be used as an impact substitute when the Hurricanes' defence tires, according to Rennie, who felt he was spoilt for choice.

"Tawera is a little different in the halfbacks, his physicality, the strength of his defensive game," Rennie said on Thursday.

"Brad's defended really well but it's a bit of a `horses for courses' thing this week and we think that's the best mix."

The Hamilton-based Chiefs will take on the first-placed Hurricanes in Wellington for a place in the Super Rugby grand final against either the Lions or Highlanders.

Rennie said he expected the match to be a real tussle.

"It's likely to be fairly average weather on the weekend and could be a bit of a battle of attrition around the edges," he said.

Fijian-born All Black Seta Tamanivalu also returns to the squad after suffering a knee knock, while Japanese international Michael Leitch takes a spot on the bench.

Rennie said the 27-year-old Leitch, reinstated after injuring his thumb against the Rebels in May, was an experienced option off the pine.

"He's got a massive workrate, really good physically, he's good over the ball and he's a big defensive player," Rennie said.

Elsewhere, the team retains the same shape as in its 60-21 quarter-final mauling of the Stormers in South Africa.

Kane Hames, Nathan Harris and Atu Moli make up the front row, while Taleni Seu, Tom Sanders and co-captain Sam Cane will line up as loose forwards.

All Black and fellow co-captain Aaron Cruden will don his No.10 jersey with youngster Anton Lienert-Brown moving from centre to second five-eighth.

Former All Black Stephen Donald has been omitted from the side.

Chiefs: Damian McKenzie, Sam McNicol, Seta Tamanivalu, Anton Lienert-Brown, James Lowe, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Tom Sanders, Sam Cane, Taleni Seu, Brodie Retallick, Dominic Bird, Atu Moli, Nathan Harris, Kane Hames.

Reserves: Hika Elliot, Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, Mitchell Graham, Lachlan Boshier, Michael Leitch, Brad Weber, Toni Pulu, Shaun Stevenson.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon