Cape Town - The Chiefs are fired up to face the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday after a hard-fought loss to the in-form Jaguares in Rotorua last week.
It is always an intriguing battle in Cape Town - the teams last met in the quarte-final of last year’s competition, where the away side emerged victorious 17-11.
Coach Colin Cooper is taking the lessons from the Jaguares game and is excited with the focus the team has shown.
“We took a lot of learnings from the Jaguares, particularly on our attack. We know what to expect from the Stormers, and have been focussed this week. The team travelled smoothly and have come over here wanting to do really well," Cooper told the Chiefs' official website.
Regular captain Sam Cane is rested at home with an abdominal strain but Cooper is pleased for the opportunity it presents others.
“Losing Sam Cane is always going to be a loss for any team, but alongside Sam is the leadership group led by Charlie Ngatai. It has given an opportunity for a number of young men to step up and come into this contest in South Africa, which is exciting for them, and for us coaches to watch.”
Up front, Cooper has brought All Blacks Nathan Harris and Brodie Retallick back into the starting line-up, moving Tyler Ardron from lock into the No 8 jersey.
In the backline, both Brad Weber and Anton Lienert-Brown will start in their 50th games for the Chiefs.
“Getting to 50 games for each of these two men is a good reward for their commitment to the Chiefs Rugby Club for a number of years. Both have displayed Chiefs Mana each time they’ve played, and it is great to be involved with them as a coach”
Centre Johnny Faauli returns to the side and the exciting Shaun Stevenson comes back from an injury sustained against the Blues to find a spot on the bench.
15 Charlie Ngatai (captain), 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Fa'auli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 Liam Messam, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe
Substitutes: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Pita Gus Sowakula, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Shaun Stevenson