Super Rugby 2020: Chiefs to unleash powerful bench on Blues

New Chiefs coach Warren Gatland has quality bench cover to call on, if his side struggles early against the Blues this weekend.

The neighbouring New Zealand franchises open the 2020 Super Rugby season on Friday night in Auckland - Gatland's first game in charge of the Hamilton-based club. 

The Chiefs have named a star-studded bench for the clash, including former international Aaron Cruden, and All Black World Cup members Anton Lienert-Brown, Brad Weber, Atu Moli and Angus Ta'avao. 

Sam Cane will captain the side from the back of the scrum, heading a talented loose forward trio that also includes Mitchell Karpick and Lachlan Boshier.

Damian McKenzie returns from injury and will wear the No.15 jersey, providing a debut for exciting Bay of Plenty first-five Kaleb Trask.

Mitchell Brown and Canadian international Tyler Ardron lock a scrum, anchored by Nepo Laulala, Aidan Ross and hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho in the front row.

The rest of the backline consists of midfielders Alex Nankivell and debutant Quinn Tupaea, with Solomon Alaimalo and Sean Wainui on the wings, while Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi will wear No.9.

Flanker Luke Jacobson was not considered for selection, as he continues his recovery from concussion, while former All Blacks hooker Nathan Harris has been ruled out of the entire season with a shoulder injury. 

Chiefs: 1-Aidan Ross, 2-Samisoni Taukei'aho, 3-Nepo Laulala, 4-Tyler Ardron, 5-Mitchell Brown, 6-Lachlan Boshier, 7-Mitchell Karpik, 8-Sam Cane, 9-Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 10-Kaleb Trask, 11-Solomon Alaimalo, 12-Alex Nankivell, 13-Quinn Tupaea, 14-Sean Wainui, 15-Damian McKenzie 

Bench: 16-Bradley Slater, 17-Atu Moli, 18-Angus Ta'avao, 19-Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20-Pita Gus Sowakula, 21-Brad Weber, 22-Aaron Cruden, 23-Anton Lienert-Brown

Join us at 7pm Friday for live updates of the Blues v the Chiefs from Eden Park.