FITNESS BOOST: Sam Cane of the Chiefs is back on deck for the Super Rugby semis.
FITNESS BOOST: Sam Cane of the Chiefs is back on deck for the Super Rugby semis. DAN PELED

Chiefs shuffle pack ahead of Hurricanes semi

RUGBY: The fit-again Sam Cane and Seta Tamanivalu were always going to be back in the Chiefs team for semi-final against the Hurricanes in Wellington.

But the third alteration is where the intrigue lies, with Tawera Kerr-Barlow replacing Brad Weber in the No.9 jersey.

When healthy, the two 25-year-olds have split the minutes at halfback this season.

Last week against the Stormers, the Chiefs wanted to stretch their physically imposing opponents, aiming for a high-tempo game, so they opted for Weber, a smaller man who excels in speed to the ruck and support play, and he lit the fuse under his side's explosive attack as they romped to a record win.

This week, against the Hurricanes, the Chiefs are anticipating a tighter game.

"There's likely to be fairly average weather and it could be a bit of a battle of attrition around the fringes, so we felt Tawera would be important for us,” coach Dave Rennie said.

The Highlanders expect the absence of Lions captain Warren Whiteley with a calf injury to inspire the home side in their Super Rugby semi-final at Ellis Park.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said he expected the influential No.8's replacement, Ruan Ackermann, to make the most of his opportunity.

with APNZ


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