26 Jun 2020

Chiefs get their Chief back

4:21 pm on 26 June 2020

All Blacks captain Sam Cane returns from a back injury to lead the Chiefs in their Super Rugby Aotearoa clash with the Crusaders in Christchurch on Sunday afternoon.

Sam Cane

Sam Cane Photo: Photosport

Coach Warren Gatland has made several changes to the Chiefs forward pack with Cane, lock Mitchell Brown and hooker Bradley Slater coming into the starting 15.

Samisoni Taukei'aho shifts to the bench with Brown returning from a neck injury to combine with Naitoa Ah Kuoi in the second row.

Lachlan Boshier shifts back to the blindside, with Cane returning on the openside.

Halfback Brad Weber will run out for his 80th game for the Chiefs jersey and will be joined by a near unchanged backline.

Utility back Solomon Alaimalo will start on the right wing in place of Sean Stevenson, who misses the matchday 23.

Gatland said the team need to deliver an improved performance.

"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 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," Gatland said.

Chiefs team to face the Crusaders:

1. Aidan Ross (33)

2. Bradley Slater (9)

3. Nepo Laulala (35)

4. Mitchell Brown (39)

5. Naitoa Ah Kuoi (8)

6. Lachlan Boshier (51)

7. Sam Cane (116) ©

8. Pita Gus Sowakula (22)

9. Brad Weber (79)

10. Aaron Cruden (96)

11. Sean Wainui (32)

12. Anton Lienert-Brown (76)

13. Quinn Tupaea (6)

14. Solomon Alaimalo (44)

15. Damian McKenzie (78)


16. Samisoni Taukei'aho (30)

17. Reuben O'Neill (5)

18. Ross Geldenhuys (7)

19. Adam Thomson (2)

20. Mitchell Karpik (25)

21. Lisati Milo-Harris (3)

22. Kaleb Trask (5)

23. Tumua Manu (18)