New Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan tells his team to expect the unexpected against the Highlanders as Hamilton’s men look to make amends for last year’s Super Rugby 0-8 shutout .
McMillan replaces Warren Gatland, who is assuming his role as coach of the British and Irish Lions this year.
He looks forward to teaming up with Highlanders coach Tony Brown, who has named a new half with exciting youngsters Folau Fakatava and Josh Ioane.
“One thing we know about Browny, you might be thinking something, but he’s likely to be doing something completely different,” McMillan said.
“Our challenge is to expect the unexpected.”
Chiefs captain Sam Cane has said Fakatava will form a dangerous brace with Aaron Smith coming off the bench.
“I also think they realize Aaron is getting older,” Cane said.
“They want to take care of him, even though he’s still firing on all cylinders.
“I’m sure he could still play great minutes.
“They also have Folau Fakatava, which is pretty exciting.”
CHEFS (15-1): Damian McKenzie, Jonah Lowe, Sean Wainui, Anton Lienert-Brown, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Bryn Gatland, Brad Weber (co-c), Luke Jacobson, Sam Cane (co-c), Samipeni Finau, Naitoa Ah Kuoi, Tupou Vaa Me, Sione Mafileo, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Reuben O’Neill
Reserves: Bradley Slater, Ollie Norris, Angus Ta’avao, Mitchell Brown, Mitchell Karpik, Xavier Roe, Alex Nankivell, Shaun Stevenson
HIGHLANDERS (15-1): Mitch Hunt, Connor Garden-Bachop, Ngantungane Punivai, Sio Tomkinson, Jona Nareki, Josh Ioane, Folau Fakatava, Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, Billy Harmon, Shannon Frizell, Jack Regan, Josh Dickson, Siate Tokolahi, Ash Dixon (co- c), Daniel Lienert-Brown
Reserves: Liam Coltman, Josh Hohneck, Jeff Thwaites, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Liam Squire, Aaron Smith (co-c), Solomon Alaimalo, Hugh Renton