Super Rugby 2020: Damian McKenzie returns to Chiefs against Hurricanes

Star fullback Damian McKenzie will reclaim the No.15 jersey for the Chiefs, when they square off with the Hurricanes in a Super Rugby derby in Hamilton on Friday.

McKenzie returns from his All Blacks-mandated rest week to slot back into his regular custodian role, pushing Solomon Alaimalo out to the left wing and Sean Wainui out of the game-day squad.

Wainui rolled his ankle in the captain's run before the 51-14 win over the Waratahs on Saturday, but decided to play through the pain. After struggling through training this week, the promising young wing has been granted a rest.

In the forwards, Mitchell Brown moves in to start at lock at the expense of Tyler Ardron, who's sidelined with an infection.

Bradley Slater and Atunaisa Moli move onto the interchange in an otherwise unchanged bench from the one that boosted the NZ conference leaders to their demolition of the Sydneysiders last weekend.

Coach Warren Gatland was delighted with the way his side bolted to the finish-line and now wants to see them do the same at home, where they were soundly beaten by the Brumbies three weeks ago.

"We were disappointed with our last home performance, and our fans and family need a good performance from us - that's particularly important."

On a short turnaround and wounded from their defeat to the Blues, Gatland believes the Hurricanes will be an even more dangerous proposition on Friday.

"It's going to be an arm wrestle - it's going to be tough and physical. You've got to be in that arm wrestle and when you get an opportunity, even it that takes 40,50, or 60 minutes, we'll be ready to exploit that."

The Chiefs have had plenty of injury issues to contend with through the early season, but Gatland confirmed some light was appearing at the end of that tunnel.

Luke Jacobson's recovery from a hamstring injury has been steady, but the All Blacks flanker will not make next week's trip to South Africa. He'll remain in New Zealand to play club rugby in a bid to return to match fitness.

Gatland aims to have Jacobson in the starting line-up for their first game back in New Zealand against the Bulls on April 4.

Injured prop Nepo Laulala will make the journey to South Africa, but Gatland wasn't certain when he'd return to the game-day squad.

Chiefs: 1-Aidan Ross, 2-Samisoni Taukei'aho, 3-Ross Geldenhuys, 4-Michael Allardice, 5-Mitchell Brown, 6-Lachlan Boshier, 7-Sam Cane, 8-Pita Gus Sowakula, 9-Brad Weber, 10-Aaron Cruden, 11-Solomon Alaimalo, 12-Anton Leinert-Brown, 13-Tumua Manu, 14-Shaun Stevenson, 15-Damian McKenzie

Reserves: 16-Bradley Slater, 17-Atunaisa Moli, 18-Reuben O'Neill, 19-Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20-Mitchell Karpik, 21-Lisati Milo Harris, 22-Kaleb Trask, 23-Alex Nankivell

Join us for live updates of the Chiefs v Hurricanes Super Rugby clash from 7pm Friday