Retallick, Messam to start for Chiefs

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has made two changes to his starting XV for Saturday's crucial clash with the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Both changes are in the pack where All Blacks Liam Messam and Brodie Retallick make a welcome return to the men from Hamilton's run-on side.

Messam comes in at number eight where he takes over from co-captain Sam Cane, who moves to the openside flank where he replaces Lachlan Boshier, while Retallick takes over from Taleni Seu at lock.

Tom Sanders will form the back row combination with Messam and Cane while Retallick re-establishes his second row partnership with Dominic Bird.

In the backs, the starting line-up who ravaged the Reds 50-5 in Brisbane last Friday have earned their jerseys again this week. 

All Blacks Tawera Kerr-Barlow and co-captain Aaron Cruden will start at scrum-half and fly-half respectively. Explosive midfielders Anton Lienert-Brown and Seta Tamanivalu combine again, with James Lowe, Toni Pulu and Damian McKenzie forming a formidable back-three. 

The outcome of this highly anticipated fixture will determine the New Zealand Conference seeding ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby quarter-final playoffs, with the top ranked New Zealand team securing the coveted home advantage. 

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (cc), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane (cc), 6 Tom Sanders, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames 
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 18 Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Sam McNicol

Date: Saturday, July 16
Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Wratt (New Zealand)