Chiefs add All Blacks Damian McKenzie and Brodie Retallick for Brumbies pre-season clash

  • 14/02/2018
The Chiefs kick-off their Super Rugby season against the Crusaders next week.
The Chiefs kick-off their Super Rugby season against the Crusaders next week. Photo credit: Getty

Returning All Blacks Damian McKenzie and Brodie Retallick will create the most interest when the Chiefs play their final pre-season match against the Brumbies on the Sunshine Coast.

The pair are among 10 Test players in the 29-man squad for Wednesday's match in Kawana, with both expected to play in the first half only.

New coach Colin Cooper has inserted McKenzie immediately into the first five-eighth role following the departure to France of former All Blacks No.10 Aaron Cruden.

McKenzie, 22, has shone for two seasons at fullback for the Chiefs but is considered a bright playmaking prospect at both Super Rugby and Test level.

It is the first rugby of any sort since September for world class lock Retallick, who pulled out of All Blacks contention following the premature death of his baby midway through the Rugby Championship.

The 26-year-old was having a storming season until that stage and told journalists he was feeling refreshed after taking time out.

Other notable returnees are starting props Nepo Laulala and Atu Moli, who both impressed on last November's All Blacks tour.

Halfback Brad Weber is back after breaking a leg at last year's Brisbane Global Tens tournament which ruled him out of the entire Super Rugby Season.

The Chiefs, who lost their pre-season opener 45-19 to the Blues, begin their campaign against the defending champion Crusaders in Christchurch next week.

Chiefs: Shaun Stevenson, Tim Nanai-Williams, Anton Lienert-Brown, Alex Nankivell, Solomon Alaimalo, Damian McKenzie, Brad Weber, Taleni Seu, Sam Cane (co-capt), Mitchell Brown, Dominic Bird, Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Liam Polwart, Atu Moli.

Reserves: Kane Hames, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Angus Ta'avao, Aidan Ross, Michael Allardice, Lachlan Boshier, Liam Messam, Mitchell Karpik, Luke Jacobson, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Marty McKenzie, Tiaan Falcon, Johnny Fa'auli, Charlie Ngatai (co-capt)