24 Mar 2016

Beaver set for a return for Chiefs

6:02 pm on 24 March 2016

World Cup hero Stephen "Beaver" Donald is set to play his first Super Rugby game for the Chiefs in five years in Hamilton on Saturday.

He has been named on the bench for the home team's game that night against the Western Force.

Stephen Donald on Chiefs duty back in 2011

Stephen "Beaver" Donald on duty for the Chiefs back in 2011 Photo: Photosport

Donald, who kicked the winning penalty in the final of the 2011 World Cup, will don the Chiefs jersey for the first time since then.

Three players, meanwhile, are expected to make their debut for the franchise.

All Blacks kicker Stephen Donald kicks the winning penalty during the All Blacks v France IRB Rugby World Cup 2011 final at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand on Sunday, 23 October 2011. Photo: Dave Lintott / photosport.co.nz

Donald's winning penalty in 2011 Photo: Photosport

The Chiefs are hoping for their first win at home this season, having just returned from beating the Southern Kings in South Africa and the Jaguars in Argentina.

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie has made minimal changes to the team that started against the Jaguars, with prop Siate Tokolahi promoted from the bench, Taleni Seu starting at lock, Brad Weber starting at halfback and Seta Tamanivalu starting at centre.

There are wholesale changes in the reserves, with only hooker Rhys Marshall backing up from last weekend.

Bay of Plenty prop Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 28, comes onto the bench to replace Pauliasi Manu, who sustained a season-ending Achilles heel injury at training on Wednesday.

Debutant Fisi'ihoi joins Marshall and Atu Moli as front row cover. James Tucker provides second row cover, with Counties Manukau flanker and debutant Sam Henwood rounding out the forward reserves.

Manawatu halfback Kayne Hammington has had an exciting week, with the 25-year-old getting called into the Chiefs squad for the season and making the playing 23.

Veteran utility back Stephen Donald is in line to play his 86th game for the Chiefs, five seasons after he last appeared for the side.

Counties Manukau back Toni Pulu, 27, has battled his way back from an ankle injury - and will make his debut for the Chiefs should he take the field.

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie said: "The past couple of days has been a lot about recovery and clarity. We have a big training day today in preparation for a side we've always battled against and who'll be looking to bounce back from last week's final 20 minutes.

"While unbeaten on the road, we're keen to front at home for our family, friends and supporters, and we've brought in fresh legs to help with this."

The Chiefs team to play the Western Force will be:

1. Mitchell Graham (15)

2. Hika Elliot (90)

3. Siate Tokolahi (21)

4. Michael Allardice (11)

5. Taleni Seu (5)

6. Tom Sanders (3)

7. Sam Cane (69) co-captain

8. Michael Leitch (16)

9. Brad Weber (28)

10. Aaron Cruden (60) co-captain

11. James Lowe (25)

12. Charlie Ngatai (35)

13. Seta Tamanivalu (10)

14. Sam McNicol (2)

15. Damian McKenzie (20)

Reserves:

16. Rhys Marshall (26)

17. Atu Moli (1)

18. Siegfried Fisi'ihoi**

19. James Tucker (1)

20. Sam Henwood**

21. Kayne Hammington**

22. Stephen Donald (85)

23. Toni Pulu**

Not considered for selection: Nepo Laulala, Mitchell Karpik, Andrew Horrell, Augustine Pulu, Dominic Bird, Shaun Stevenson, Brodie Retallick, Tevita Koloamatangi, Nathan Harris, Anton Lienert-Brown, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Pauliasi Manu.

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