Following their heavy defeat to Canterbury on Friday night, Waikato coach Johnny Walters has rung the changes for their National Provincial Championship premiership match against Taranaki in Hamilton on Wednesday night.
Waikato were belted 58-27 at Waikato Stadium and faced a short turnaround to their next match, before a trip to play North Harbour on Saturday night.
There were two changes in the backline - at halfback and first five-eighth.
Waikato have been boosted by the inclusion of All Blacks halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow, but it was a tough call on Brad Weber, who had been playing well and was captaining the side. He would play from the bench.
Kerr-Barlow, 24, was one of 10 All Blacks squad members who have been released to play for their province (Taranaki wouldn't have the services of Beauden Barrett).
He has played 14 tests, but the last of those was in November 2013, with TJ Perenara having usurped him for the bench spot to back up Aaron Smith.
He would relish some game-time, with his last match over five weeks ago in the Chiefs' Super Rugby qualifying final loss to the Brumbies in Canberra.
Kerr-Barlow would link up with Wharenui Hawera, who has been picked ahead of Damian McKenzie at first-five eighth.
There were just two survivors from the starting forward pack - No 8 Adam Burn and hooker Brayden Mitchell.
Chiefs prop Josh Hohneck returned from a broken thumb and would start at tighthead. Ben Tameifuna was on the bench and James McGougan started in place of Loni Uhila.
Locks Jacob Skeen and Luke Katene came in to earn their first caps for the Mooloos, in place of Nick Ross and David Morgan - the latter was on the bench.
Flankers Whetu Douglas and Zak Hohneck dropped out of the 22, with Josh Tyrell coming in at blindside and veteran Marty Holan - who would take over the captaincy - at openside, and Zane Kapeli coming onto the bench.
Reserve back Regan Ware was in line to play his first ITM Cup match.
Waikato: Albert Nikoro, Declan O'Donnell, Jordan Payne, Anton Lienert-Brown, Joe Webber, Wharenui Hawera, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Adam Burn, Marty Holah (c), Josh Tyrell, Jacob Skeen, Luke Katene, Josh Hohneck, Brayden Mitchell, James McGougan. Reserves: Hame Faiva, Ben Tameifuna, David Morgan, Zane Kapeli, Brad Weber, Damian McKenzie, Regan Ware.
- Waikato Times
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