<
>

Chiefs make changes for Highlanders game

With nothing to lose, the Chiefs have made five changes to their starting line-up for Saturday's Super 12 rugby clash against the Highlanders at Waikato Stadium.

Mark Ranby and Keith Lowen return to the run-on side.

Ranby replaces the injured Niva Ta'auso at centre and Lowen, usually a midfield back like Ranby, will play at right wing.

It will also be Lowen's 50th match for the Chiefs, who are without a specialist wing after Sailosi Tagicakibau broke his leg against the Stormers a fortnight ago.

Sosene Anesi returns to fullback from wing and Adrian Cashmore, who came off the bench to play fullback last week, is back in the reserves.

"We elected to go back to starting Anesi at fullback, and that has really dictated the selection of our back three," Chiefs coach Ian Foster said.

"Sosene has been outstanding in the number 15 jersey and probably struggled a bit going back to the wing in last week's match against the Brumbies. He didn't get as much ball as we would have liked.

"For him to play at his best position, we've moved Adrian to the bench and will utilise Keith's skills on the wing."

Other key changes to the Chiefs line-up include Kevin Senio starting at halfback with Byron Kelleher ruled out with a groin injury.

Rhys Duggan has been called up as a backup halfback.

Foster said Kelleher's groin injury had not settled down as quickly as first thought and would take two to three weeks for the halfback to be ready to play again.

The only change to the Chiefs forward pack from last week is Sione Lauaki starting at blindside ahead of Wayne Ormond.

"While Wayne has played well in recent weeks, Sione has now recovered from a sore neck and it is a chance to start him again. I'm sure Wayne will see some game time off the bench," Foster said.

He is hoping his team will finish strongly in the competition.

"We want to keep taking every opportunity in this contest and are keen to win our last game at home. It would also be a great way to farewell our most-capped player, Michael Collins."

Prop Collins will play in his 82nd match for the Chiefs. He has signed a two-year contract to play for London Irish in the Zurich Premiership.

It is a must-win match for the fifth-placed Highlanders, who are a chance of making the play-offs if other results go their way.