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Chiefs make five changes to face Cheetahs

AAP
Friday, April 04, 2014

Update: 12:00PM THE revolving door at the Chiefs continues to spin, offering up five new starting faces for their Super Rugby match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

There are two changes among the loose forwards from the team who drew 34-34 with the Bulls last week, including the selection of regular lock Mike Fitzgerald on the blindside flank.

Fitzgerald effectively replaces No.8 Kane Thompson, with co-captain Liam Messam switching to the back of the scrum. Sam Cane replaces Tanerau Latimer on the openside flank.

The Chiefs coaches have made a habit of rotating their team this season, aiming to keep players fresh.

Three changes in the backline for the game on Sunday (NZT) see Gareth Anscombe replace Mils Muliaina at fullback, Tim Nanai-Williams come in for Anton Lienert-Brown on the right wing and Augustine Pulu start at halfback ahead of Tawera Kerr-Barlow.

A Chiefs media release said hooker Mahonri Schwalger had suffered an "eye issue" and returned to New Zealand for treatment.

He follows prop Ben Afeaki, who returned home this week after suffering a head knock.

Schwalger's place on the reserve bench is taken by hooker Nathan Harris.

The two-time defending champion Chiefs are third with three wins, a draw and a loss while the Cheetahs are in last place courtesy of four successive losses before a bye last weekend.

Chiefs: Gareth Anscombe, Tim Nanai-Williams, Andrew Horrell, Tom Marshall, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden (co-captain), Augustine Pulu, Liam Messam (co-captain), Sam Cane, Michael Fitzgerald, Brodie Retallick, Matt Symons, Ben Tameifuna, Rhys Marshall, Pauliasi Manu. Reserves: Nathan Harris, Jamie Mackintosh, Josh Hohneck, Liam Squire, Tanerau Latimer, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Anton Lienert-Brown, Mils Muliaina.