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New Zealand’s dominance over Australia in Super Rugby continues as the Chiefs piled on the points in the second half en route to a commanding victory over the Reds at home.
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The Queensland Reds are coming off a tough Super Rugby defeat to the Waratahs and will have to show plenty of character to challenge the Chiefs in New Zealand. Chiefs vs Reds Live Stream from 5:30pm AEST.
A tough season for Queensland rugby continued last week as the Reds succumbed to the Waratahs up at Suncorp Stadium. The Reds held the lead on numerous occasions but failed to withstand a spirited Waratahs fightback.
Now, the onus is on the Reds to show immense spirit tonight as they take on a Chiefs side that will be keen to rediscover their best form after an inconsistent month of rugby from the New Zealand powerhouse.
While the Chiefs have won three of their past four matches, it doesn’t mask the fact that they barely defeated the Sunwolves last week in a game many thought they would conquer very easily.
Throw in a narrow win over the Force in Perth and a hard-earned victory over the Cheetahs after trailing 24 nil and it’s easy to see why the Chiefs will be hardly pleased with their current form.
With this in mind, expect the Chiefs to make a statement of sorts tonight against a Reds unit. Already missing the services of fullback Karmichael Hunt.
In good news for the Chiefs, Charlie Ngatai will make his long-awaited return to Super Rugby. The 26-year-old Ngatai will play his first game almost a year to the day since a head knock against the Highlanders left him with long-term concussion symptoms, placing his career at risk.
A one-cap All Black, the Taranaki ace was one of 2016’s standout performers in midfield and likely would’ve played more Tests.
Instead, Ngatai has slowly worked his way back to full health and fitness. Ticking off the final boxes with three club rugby appearances.
He’ll line up at second-five for the encounter.
He’s one of eight changes to the Chiefs’ starting line-up. With Brodie Retallick and Michael Leitch recalled to action. And Mitchell Brown switched to the blindside to make way for Sam Cane at No 7.
Tawera Kerr-Barlow is back at halfback after overcoming concussion and partners Aaron Cruden in the halves. While midfielder Anton Lienert-Brown slots in outside Ngatai at centre.
James Lowe and Toni Pulu are on the wings, in what will make for. A dynamic outside back combination alongside Damien McKenzie.
On the bench, Test hooker Nathan Harris has been named for. What could be his first Chiefs game in 10 months, having torn his ACL in an All Blacks training session last August.
Meanwhile, Reds coach Nick Stiles has shifted Duncan Paia’aua to. Play fullback after Karmichael Hunt was ruled out with a knee injury.
Campbell Magnay comes into the centres for a rare start and captain Samu Kerevi moves into the No 12 jersey.
PredictionThe Chiefs, like all NZ teams, just possess a clear edge in class and chemistry. At their best and should be too strong for the Reds at home.