Damian McKenzie ruled out as Chiefs hosts Highlanders

An ankle injury has ruled out Damian McKenzie only one day to kick-off presenting Orbyn Leger, at first five eighth, with debut as they host Highlanders in Hamilton on Friday 13.

Brodie Retallick will captain Chiefs side with a number of inexperienced players and will form the locks duo with Michael Allardice.

Nathan Harris and Angus Ta’avao join Atu Moli in the front row and Nepo Laulala is in reserve with Tyler Ardron starting at No 8 and Brad Weber has been given the nod at halfback ahead of All Black Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.

Chiefs head coach Collin Cooper also named three other debutantes Etene Nanai-Seturo (left wing), Tumua Manu (centre) and Tongan-born Japanese winger Ataata Moeakiola, who is poised to come off the bench.

Chiefs: Shaun Stevenson, Bailyn Sullivan, Tumua Manu, Anton Lienert-Brown, Etene Nanai-Seturo, Orbyn Leger, Brad Weber; Tyler Ardron, Lachlan Boshier, Mitchell Brown, Michael Allardice, Brodie Retallick (c), Angus Ta’avao, Nathan Harris, Atu Moli.

Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Aidan Ross, Nepo Laulala, Taleni Seu, Jesse Parete, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Stephen Donald, Ataata Moeakiola.

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