Chiefs recall All Blacks to face Stormers

Jul 20, 2017 - 8:21 PM Three rested All Blacks have been injected back into the Chiefs team for their Super Rugby quarter-final against the Stormers in Cape Town.

Former Test pair Stephen Donald and Liam Messam are also promoted into a starting side featuring five changes from that which beat a weakened Brumbies 28-10 in their final regular season match in Hamilton last week.

The midfield is overhauled for the fourth of the quarter-finals on Sunday morning (NZT) following injuries to Charlie Ngatai (ankle) and Alex Nankivell (illness).

Donald, 33, is restored at second five-eighth while Anton Lienert-Brown starts outside him after sitting out last week following the gruelling Test series against the British and Irish Lions.

Lock Brodie Retallick and flanker Sam Cane were also rested against the Brumbies and return in place of Michael Allardice and Lachlan Boshier respectively.

Veteran flanker Liam Messam is back from a hamstring niggle in place of Mitch Karpik.

A minor surprise is the placement of regular starting lock Dominic Bird on the reserves bench, having missed his first game of the season last week (head knock).

Assistant coach Kieran Keane says they have retained industrious loose forward Mitchell Brown at lock for form reasons.

"We just sat down and had a discussion around who was in actual form, and Browny's selection was pretty compulsory," Keane said.

"We couldn't see a way not to pick him because of what he'd achieved and what he was doing at the time.

"Form is a big thing moving into a quarter-final, with the sudden death aspect to it."

It is similar in the midfield, where 33-year-old Donald has kept a returning Tim Nanai-Williams on the reserves bench.

Former Test No.10 Donald will make his fifth start of the season and his fourth at second five-eighth.

The quarter-final falls nearly a year to the day after the Chiefs thumped the Stormers 60-21 in the equivalent fixture at the same venue in 2016.

The South African side gained a measure of revenge in April when they won a round seven match 34-26 in Cape Town.

Chiefs: Damien McKenzie, Solomon, Alaimolo, Anton Lienert-Brown, Stephen Donald, James Lowe, Aaron Cruden (co-capt), Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Michael Leitch, Sam Cane (co-capt), Liam Messam, Mitchell Brown, Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Nathan Harris, Kane Hames. Reserves: Liam Polwart, Aidan Ross, Atu Moli, Dominic Bird, Lachlan Boshier, Finlay Christie, Tim Nanai-Williams, Shaun Stevenson.

Source: AAP

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