Warren Gatland, head coach of the Gallagher Chiefs announced his team to face the unbeaten Crusaders in Christchurch on Sunday 28 June 2021, 05:35 SA Time. The Chiefs are still looking for their first win of the season after losses against the Highlanders (27-28) and Blues (12-24).
Several changes were made to the Chiefs forward pack with the welcomed return of Chiefs Captain Sam Cane and lock Mitchell Brown. Taranaki hooker Bradley Slater is given the nod to start, with Samisoni Taukei’aho shifting to the bench as cover. Brown returns from his neck injury to start, combining with Naitoa Ah Kuoi in jerseys number four and five respectively. Turnover master Lachlan Boshier shifts back to the blindside, with Cane returning on the openside in the final change to the Gallagher Chiefs forward pack.
In the only change to the backline utility back Solomon Alaimalo will start on the right-wing in jersey number fourteen. On the bench, Mitchell Karpik returns as loosie while Tumua Manu also returns in jersey number twenty-three.
Gatland said “We were disappointed with our performance against the Blues on Saturday and we know we are better than that. We are under no illusion that this weekend will be another challenging game, the Crusaders are a sharp team and can quickly punish teams for their mistakes. We need to be alert when we are defending and sharp on the attack to allow us to capitalise on any opportunities presented to us.”
“It is great to have the likes of Sam Cane, Mitchell Brown and Mitchell Karpik returning from injury. We know their experience and skill set will be invaluable."
Gallagher Chiefs: 15. Damian McKenzie, 14. Solomon Alaimalo, 13. Quinn Tupaea, 12. Anton Lienert-Brown, 11. Sean Wainui, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Brad Weber, 8. Pita Gus Sowakula, 7. Sam Cane, 6. Lachlan Boshier, 5. Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 4. Mitchell Brown, 3. Nepo Laulala, 2. Bradley Slater, 1. Aidan Ross. Replacements: 16. Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17. Reuben O’Neill, 18. Ross Geldenhuys, 19. Adam Thomson, 20. Mitchell Karpik, 21. Lisati Milo-Harris, 22. Kaleb Trask, 23. Tumua Manu.