Anscombe given starting nod for semi-final

EVAN PEGDEN
Last updated 16:00 25/07/2013
Gareth Anscombe
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FIT AND READY: Gareth Anscombe has been named in the starting XV.

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The Chiefs have kept their forward pack intact but rung the changes in their midfield and outside backs for Saturday night's Super Rugby semifinal.

Three personnel changes and one positional one have been made to the backline that started against the Blues in the Chiefs' last outing two weeks ago at Eden Park.

Andrew Horrell, who started at fullback against the Blues, will play at second five-eighth in place of Bundee Aki who has been relegated to the Chiefs' bench for the semifinal at Waikato Stadium against the Crusaders.

Charlie Ngatai will partner him in the midfield, starting at centre in place of the injured Tim Nanai-Williams.

Gareth Anscombe, who returned to the action from a broken foot via the bench against the Blues, takes Horrell's place at fullback and the man who started the other games in the No 15 jersey in Anscombe's absence is replaced on the left wing by regular Asaeli Tikoirotuma.

Robinson joins Aki on the bench.

The fact the Chiefs have been able to name an unchanged starting forward pack means 2.04 metre All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick made it through training on his ankle injured against the Blues and passed fit to play.

The front row has been kept the same, meaning Ben Tameifuna has kept the starting tighthead propping position despite the return from a back injury of All Black Ben Afeaki, who will be on the bench.

Also new onto the bench this week is young hooker Rhys Marshall, who has had a diet of club rugby lately for Waikato premier club rugby championship finalists Hamilton Marist.

But he won't be playing in the club final earlier on Saturday as he replaces former Samoa World Cup captain Mahonri Schwalger as the back-up rake to Hika Elliot.

Schwalger has been troubled all season by a knee injury, while Elliot has been carrying an ankle problem this week.

Chiefs: Gareth Anscombe, Lelia Masaga, Charlie Ngatai, Andrew Horrell, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Matt Vant Leven, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick, Craig Clarke (c), Ben Tameifuna, Hika Elliot, Toby Smith. Res: Rhys Marshall, Ben Afeaki, Mike Fitzgerald, Sam Cane, August Pulu, Bundee Aki, Robbie Robinson.

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