Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, Saturday 2.35pm (AEST)Last meeting: Round 12 2012 – Reds 42 bt Chiefs 27 at Suncorp StadiumHead-to-head: Played 17 Chiefs 8 Reds 9In Hamilton: Played 8 Chiefs 4 Reds 4Referee: Steve Walsh (AUS)TV: Live, FoxSports 2TAB Sportsbet: Chiefs $1.30 Reds $3.30
Steve Samuelson writes: The clash between the past two Super Rugby champions will be an acid test for the Reds. The visitors’s form has lifted since Will Genia’s return from injury and their record against New Zealand teams under coach Ewen McKenzie is phenomenal – 13 wins, four losses.
AAP writes: The Chiefs deserve their pole position on the ladder and favouritism for what shapes as a highly entertaining, daytime clash. But the Reds make a habit of surprising Kiwi outfits at home and across the ditch. Queensland have won 10 of their past 11 against NZ sides and seem to produce some of their best stuff against the Chiefs.Both teams come off a timely bye.
Winger Rod Davies is the Reds’ only change from the 34-33 win over the Highlanders while the Chiefs have made several alterations to the pack which beat the Blues. The playmaking battle between Quade Cooper and Aaron Cruden is one to watch, as well as the stoush between No.7s Liam Gill and Sam Cane.
CHIEFS: Gareth Anscombe, Tim Nanai-Williams, Richard Kahui, Bundee Aki, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Augustine Pulu, Liam Messam (capt), Sam Cane, Tanerau Latimer, Brodie Retallick, Michael Fitzgerald, Ben Tameifuna, Hika Elliot, Toby Smith Reserves: Rhys Marshall, Michael Kainga, Nick Crosswell, Fritz Lee, Brendon Leonard, Andrew Horrell, Patrick Osborne.
REDS: Jono Lance, Rod Davies, Anthony Faingaa, Ben Tapuai, Dom Shipperley, Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Jake Schatz, Liam Gill, Ed Quirk, James Horwill (capt), Rob Simmons, James Slipper, James Hanson, Greg Holmes. Reserves: Albert Anae, Ben Daley, Ed O’Donaghue, Jarrad Butler, Ben Lucas, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Aidan Toua.
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