Super Rugby Pacific: Luke Jacobson to captain new-look Chiefs against Reds

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Luke Jacobson Chiefs SRP 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy
Luke Jacobson Chiefs SRP 2022 - PA.jpg Credit: Alamy

Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan has rung the changes to his matchday squad for their Super Rugby Pacific encounter against the Reds in New Plymouth on Friday.

There are nine changes in all from the side which beat the Highlanders last week with Luke Jacobson to captain the team from number eight.

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Co-captains rested

Jacobson takes over the captaincy from co-captains Sam Cane and Brad Weber who have both been rested. Cane’s spot on the openside flank is taken by Simon Parker while Cortez Ratima replaces Weber at scrum-half.

There will be plenty of excitement amongst the local supporters as four players from the Taranaki side that competes in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship have been included in the Chiefs starting line-up.

They are All Blacks locks Tupou Vaa’i and Josh Jord, loosehead prop Jared Proffit and hooker Bradley Slater. Proffit and Slater will be joined by John Ryan at tighthead while Ollie Norris, Atunaisa Moli, and Tyrone Thompson are on the bench as front-row cover.

Samipeni Finau comes in for Pita Gus Sowakula on the blindside flank and joins Jacobson and Parker in the back-row while in the backline, Anton Lienert-Brown, who returned from injury to play his 100th game for the Chiefs last week, shifts from inside to outside centre with Rameka Poihipi wearing the number 12 jersey.

Elsewhere, Damian McKenzie will form a half-back combination with Ratima while Etene Nanai-Seturo returns on the left wing with Shaun Stevenson and Emoni Narawa continuing at full-back and on the right wing respectively.

McMillan is looking forward to getting down to Taranaki to take on the Reds.

Excited to play in New Plymouth

“It is home to a number of our players, and it will be a proud moment for those who were fit and available to play in front of friends and family.

“That played a part in our squad selection; alongside All Blacks rest protocols, increasing squad readiness for upcoming games, and respecting the huge challenge the Reds will bring.

“At this stage of the season, every point counts and I have no doubt both teams will come eager to lock horns in the bullring.”

Chiefs: 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Emoni Narawa, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Rameka Poihipi, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Cortez Ratima, 8 Luke Jacobson (c), 7 Simon Parker, 6 Samipeni Finau, 5 Josh Lord, 4 Tupou Vaa’i, 3 John Ryan, 2 Bradley Slater, 1 Jared Proffit
Replacements: 16 Tyrone Thompson, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Manaaki Selby-Rickit, 20 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Alex Nankivell

Date: Friday, May 12
Venue: Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
Kick-off: 19:05 local (08:05 BST, 07:05 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Dan Waenga (New Zealand), Mike Winter (New Zealand)
TMO: Richard Kelly (New Zealand)

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