Five changes from Chiefs

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has made five changes to his starting line-up that will face the Sharks in New Plymouth on Friday.

In the forwards hooker Hika Elliot and Japan Test prop Hiroshi Yamashita will pack down alongside Taranaki loosehead Mitchell Graham, who makes his seventh consecutive start for the Chiefs.

Dominic Bird returns from injury to partner at lock with Brodie Retallick. Taleni Seu is promoted from the reserves to wear jersey six, alongside co-captain Sam Cane and number eight Michael Leitch.

There's just one change in the backs with Anton Lienert-Brown returning from injury to start at inside centre. He is joined in the midfield by Taranaki's Seta Tamanivalu. Brad Weber starts at scrum-half with support from co-captain Aaron Cruden at fly-half. Sam McNicol, Toni Pulu and Damian McKenzie complete the backline in jerseys 11, 14 and 15 respectively. 

Friday’s match is particularly special for two Chiefs players. 27-year-old Tasman prop Kane Hames is set to make his first appearance in a Chiefs jersey, while 21-year-old Taranaki loose forward Lachlan Boshier is in line to make his Super Rugby debut should he come off the bench.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Sam McNicol, 10 Aaron Cruden (cc), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (cc), 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Mitchell Graham
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Kane Hames, 19 James Tucker, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Shaun Stevenson

Date: Friday, 29 April
Venue: Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
Kick-off: 19:35 (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Chris Pollock
Assistant Referees: Jamie Nutbrown, Angus Mabey
TMO: Glenn Newman