Shaun Stevenson To Debut For Chiefs On The Wing

Rookie Shaun Stevenson has done enough at training to earn a debut for the Chiefs in the opening round of Super Rugby.

Stevenson, 19, impressed in his debut ITM Cup season, scoring four tries for Waikato, but his place on the wing for the Chiefs is somewhat of an unknown position.

Stevenson has previously played most of his rugby at fullback, but the youngster is just one of five debutants for the Chiefs on Saturday night.

Japanese prop Hiroshi Yamashita makes his debut after only arriving in New Zealand a fortnight ago as cover for the injured Nepo Laulala, and after impressing head coach Dave Rennie during scrum sessions, Yamashita will get his first taste of Super Rugby going up against Owen Franks for the Crusaders.

Loose-forward Taleni Seu will start on debut, and no.8 Tom Sanders has also done enough to warrant a start on debut.

Aaron Cruden will also make his long-awaited return to Super Rugby against the Crusaders, returning to the very ground where he suffered a season-ending injury in the corresponding fixture last year. Chiefs coaches say Cruden is ready to go after being involved in full contact at training for the past month or so.

The Chiefs play the Crusaders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on Saturday night at 7.30pm.

The Chiefs squad for Round #1 against Crusaders:

  1. Pauliasi Manu (45)
  2. Rhys Marshall (22)
  3. Hiroshi Yamashita**
  4. Michael Allardice (7)
  5. Brodie Retallick (59)
  6. Taleni Seu**
  7. Sam Cane (65) co-captain
  8. Tom Sanders**
  9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow (56)
  10. Aaron Cruden (56) co-captain
  11. James Lowe (21)
  12. Charlie Ngatai (31)
  13. Seta Tamanivalu (6)
  14. Shaun Stevenson**
  15. Damian McKenzie (16)      

RESERVES:

  1. Nathan Harris (12)
  2. Mitchell Graham (11)
  3. Siate Tokolahi (17)
  4. Maama Vaipulu (10)
  5. Johan Bardoul (8)
  6. Brad Weber (24)
  7. Anton Lienert-Brown (9)
  8. Latu Vaeno**

 

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