22 May 2015

Chiefs confident in second row

3:54 pm on 22 May 2015

The Chiefs coach Dave Rennie expects veteran lock Ross Filipo to slot straight back into their pack without too many problems in Friday night's Super Rugby game against the Bulls in Rotorua.

Filipo will come out of professional retirement to pack down for the Chiefs, who have a crisis in the second row.

Chiefs lock Ross Filipo

Chiefs lock Ross Filipo Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Loose forward Johan Bardoul is the Chiefs' fifth lock and he'll start alongside Filipo, who Rennie has plenty of confidence in.

Rennie says if he had a couple of 20-year-old locks playing he'd be concerned, but Filipo has the age and experience to match Bulls star Victor Matfield.

Filipo was in the Chiefs squad last year, but this season the 36-year-old is a player-coach for Hamilton Marist.

The Chiefs are without locks Brodie Retallick, Matt Symons, Michael Allardice and now Michael Fitzgerald, who was bracketed with Filipo, isn't available.

As expected there have been some changes to the Chiefs tight five.

In the front row Mitchell Graham starts at loosehead prop while Michael Fitzgerald has been bracketed with former Chief and All Black Ross Filipo, who was called into the side earlier this week as cover.

The confirmed starting lock will be joined in the second row by the newly re-signed Johan Bardoul.

The only other change to the run on side sees Augustine Pulu assume the starting role at halfback.

Prop Pauliasi Manu and halfback Brad Weber move to the reserves while utility back Tim Nanai-Williams returns to the match day 23.

Chiefs development lock Brian Alainu'uese gets the opportunity to make his Chiefs and Investec Super Rugby debut off the bench.

The 21 year-old has come through the Chiefs U18 programme and has been part of the Chiefs development squad for the last two seasons.

Meanwhile a scan on winger James Lowe's right shoulder has revealed he has an injury to the cartilage on the shoulder joint which will require a rehabilitation period of four-six weeks.

1. Mitchell Graham

2. Hika Elliot

3. Ben Tameifuna

4. Michael Fitzgerald/Ross Filipo

5. Johan Bardoul

6. Liam Messam (c)

7. Sam Cane

8. Michael Leitch

9. Augustine Pulu

10. Damian McKenzie

11. Bryce Heem

12. Anton Lienert-Brown

13. Charlie Ngatai

14. Hosea Gear

15. Tom Marshall

16. Quentin MacDonald

17. Siate Tokolahi

18. Pauliasi Manu

19. Brian Alainu'uese*

20. Maama Vaipulu

21. Brad Weber

22. Andrew Horrell

23. Tim Nanai-Williams

*Chiefs debutant & Super Rugby debut

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