Lock Kevin O’Neill and midfield back Callum Bruce are set to play their first Chiefs games this Saturday night when the Chiefs take on the Blues in Round One of the Rebel Sport Super 14.
The Chiefs Website reports that O’Neill, 25, is no stranger to Rebel Sport Super 14 having played 13 matches for the Crusaders. The 2.01m lock will team up alongside Chiefs captain Jono Gibbes at Eden Park this weekend in his debut Chiefs match.
In the backs second five-eighth Callum Bruce will enjoy his first Chiefs encounter combining with centre Richard Kahui and Stephen Donald at first-five eighth. Bruce, 24, has 22 Rebel Sport Super 14 caps to his name – all with the Highlanders.
Chiefs coach Ian Foster has chosen a backline packed with pace with Sitiveni Sivivatu and Sosene Anesi on the wings, and Mils Muliaina at fullback. Lelia Masaga is named on the bench.
“It is an exciting time going into our first game. It was probably the hardest team to pick in terms of having nearly everyone available. In the end we had to pick a team that is best suited to take on the Blues.”
“The Chiefs and Blues match is always a clash we look forward to. Last year the Blues were in good form making the semi-finals, plus they have some quality personnel. We are certainly aware of the size of the challenge ahead of us for Saturday night. It seems clear that the Blues have picked a physical team against us. It will be an exciting start to our campaign.”
At halfback Jamie Nutbrown gets the nod ahead of Brendon Leonard for this fixture with Leonard suffering an ankle injury at Tuesday’s training. Leonard is bracketed on the bench with Chiefs Wider Training Group halfback David Bason.
“It is disappointing for Brendon but there is a good chance of him being available on the bench this weekend. A decision on whether he will make the 22 will be made late on game day.”
Fosted added that Nutbrown has shown good form and confidence in the number 9 jersey in the team’s preseason games.
Lock Toby Lynn was the only Chiefs player not considered for selection this week due to an ankle injury.
The Chiefs team to play the Blues on Saturday 16 February at 7.35pm at Eden Park in Auckland is:
Starting XV: 1. Simms Davison, 2. Tom Willis, 3. Ben Castle, 4. Jono Gibbes (captain), 5. Kevin O’Neill, 6. Liam Messam, 7. Tanerau Latimer, 8. Sione Lauaki, 9. Jamie Nutbrown, 10. Stephen Donald, 11. Sitiveni Sivivatu, 12. Callum Bruce, 13. Richard Kahui, 14. Sosene Anesi, 15. Mils Muliaina
Reserves:16. Aled de Malmanche, 17. Ben May, 18. Kristian Ormsby, 19. Hayden Hopgood, 20. Brendon Leonard/David Bason, 21. Dwayne Sweeney, 22. Lelia Masaga.Tweet