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PREVIEW: Chiefs v Hurricanes

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019    allblacks.com    Getty Images

Match details: Chiefs v Hurricanes, 7.35pm Friday 15 March, FMG Stadium Waikato. TICKETS.

Played: 33
Won: Chiefs 15, Hurricanes 17
Drawn: 1
Last time: Hurricanes 32, Chiefs 31 (20 July 2018)
Referee: Mike Fraser

FORM
Despite showing flashes of brilliance on attack, the Chiefs have slumped to four straight losses with defence being their main concern. They have conceded 171 points in the opening four rounds, 48 points more than the Brumbies who have conceded the second most points. The Hurricanes have bagged three wins against the Waratahs (20-19), Brumbies (54-17) and Highlanders (25-22) but were dispatched 38-22 by the Crusaders in Christchurch.

QUICK TAP: HURRICANES SEEK CHANGE OF LUCK IN HAMILTON

MIDFIELD RUMBLE
In what could also double as a Rugby World Cup trial, the two form midfielders of the NZ Conference square off in the twelve jersey. While Ngani Laumape has captured the imagination of the rugby public with his block busting running and powerful finishing, Anton Lienert-Brown has been the rock in a Chiefs side which has struggled in the opening rounds.
D-MAC MOVES TO THE BACK
The major talking point in the Chiefs line-up is the shifting of Damian McKenzie from first five-eighth to fullback. The talented playmaker hasn’t worn the fifteen jersey for the Chiefs in almost a year but will be given licence to unleash his full bag of attacking tricks with Solomon Alaimalo out injured. His older brother Marty will make his first start of the year in the 10 jersey. While not as dynamic as Damian, Marty is an astute game general and will look to provide plenty of attacking ball to an exciting Chiefs backline.

FAST FACT (Opta)
The Chiefs have won four out of their last five regular season games against the Hurricanes. Their one loss in that span came by just one point (32-31) in 2018.

PARTY LIKE ITS 1996
The Chiefs will take a step back in time and wear a 1996 themed heritage jersey for this clash. Grab your Chiefs throwback kit HERE.

THE SCOOP
The Chiefs have their backs to the wall but have to be careful to not play too loose against a Hurricanes side that thrives on an open game. Last week the Hurricanes struggled upfront against the Highlanders. This is an area that the Chiefs need to exploit if they are to get their first win in 2019. If they can dominant upfront, improve their defensive systems and provide opportunities to their game-breakers out wide, then the Chiefs faithful maybe smiling for the first time this season.

TEAMS

Chiefs:

15: Damian McKenzie 14: Sean Wainui 13: Tumua Manu 12: Anton Lienert-Brown 11: Ataata Moekiola 10: Marty McKenzie 9: Brad Weber 8: Tyler Ardron 7: Mitchell Karpik 6: Mitchell Brown 5: Michael Allardice 4: Brodie Retallick 3: Nepo Laulala 2: Nathan Harris 1: Aidan Ross
Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ryan Coxon, Angus Ta’avao, Taleni Seu, Luke Jacobsen, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Alex Nankivell, Etene Nanai-Seturo

Hurricanes
15 Chase Tiatia 14 Jordie Barrett 13 Matt Proctor 12 Ngani Laumape 11 Wes Goosen 10 Beauden Barrett 9 TJ Perenara 8 Ardie Savea 7 Du'Plessis Kirifi 6 Reed Prinsep 5 Vaea Fifita 4 James Blackwell 3 Ben May 2 Dane Coles (c) 1 Toby Smith
Reserves: 16 Asafo Aumua 17 Fraser Armstrong 18 Alex Fidow 19 Liam Mitchell 20 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis 21 Finlay Christie 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop 23 Salesi Rayasi