Preview: Kings v Chiefs
Thursday, March 14, 2013 Sportal.co.nz Getty Images
MISSING IN ACTION:
Kings captain Luke Watson remains out with a throat injury he picked up in their opener against the Force, meaning Darron Nell retains the captaincy.
Michael Killian refractured his arm at training last week and will be out for another four weeks, while Jacques Engelbrecht is nursing sore ribs after their clash against the Sharks.
Chiefs front rowers Mahonri Schwalger and Ben Tameifuna returned home prematurely for different reasons. Schwalger's knee injury hasn't healed completely and will continue to recover in Hamilton. Tameifuna is returning home for a family bereavement.
The Kings surprised all when they upset the Force 22-10 on their home ground to start their Super Rugby life on a winning note.
They came back down to Earth a week later when they were beaten 12-21 by the Sharks. While disappointed, their sound defensive display proved they have the capabilities to not only make up the numbers – they are in the competition to perform and stick around.
The Chiefs, however, aren't the defending champions for nothing. After securing a come-from-behind 41-27 win against the Highlanders in the opening round followed by a resounding 45-3 win over the Cheetahs, the Waikato franchise suffered a 34-36 defeat to the Stormers in Cape Town.
Coach Dave Rennie said the intensity of that match surprised a lot of the younger players and is adamant it won't happen to his side again on Saturday.
WE THINK: The Chiefs are likely to return to winning ways against the competition newcomers, but expect some fight from a franchise battling for respect and longevity in Super Rugby.
While the steely resolve displayed against the Sharks will help the Kings gain some confidence, it's hard to imagine the defending champions dropping successive matches in the republic.
The Chiefs have added motivation for the match, too. Chiefs co-captain Liam Messam will become the first player from the Waikato franchise and the 26th New Zealander to play 100 Super Rugby matches.
This is surely enough of an incentive to not only see the visitors home, but to do so in style to honour their co-captain. Chiefs by 10
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