Monday, July 22, 2024
HomeRugbyTupaea's Comeback, Sibling Showdown, and All Blacks' Potential Return as Chiefs Gear...

Tupaea’s Comeback, Sibling Showdown, and All Blacks’ Potential Return as Chiefs Gear Up for Super Rugby Pacific Pre-Season Clash

In the upcoming Super Rugby Pacific pre-season match, All Blacks midfielder Quinn Tupaea is set to make a triumphant return for the Chiefs after recovering from his ACL injury during the 2022 Bledisloe Cup.

The Chiefs will face off against League One’s undefeated Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights on Sunday.

Tupaea, 24, will go head-to-head with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende at second five-eighth. The contest will also feature familiar faces from The Rugby Championship, including Lood de Jager and Marika Koroibete, under the guidance of former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

The Chiefs’ captaincy will be shared between Kaylum Boshier and Rameka Poihipi, and an interesting matchup awaits as Kaylum faces his brother Lachlan Boshier at openside flanker.

Due to the absence of the Chiefs’ 2023 Rugby World Cup participants on All Blacks leave, seven members from the club’s wider training squad have been called in for the game, including Tana Tahukaraina, Josh Jacomb, Millenium Sanerivi, Wallace Sititi, Tevita Ofa, Cody Nordstrom, and Riley Hohepa.

Josh Jacomb, the playmaker for the NPC-winning Taranaki side in 2023, will draw attention as he starts at fullback, despite not making the Chiefs squad for 2024. Aidan Ross and Naitoa Ah Kuoi, who participated in the successful two-game tour of Japan with the All Blacks XV in 2023, will also be in action.

However, the Chiefs will be without the services of the dangerous backline trio Shaun Stevenson, Emoni Narawa, and Etene Nanai-Seturo due to injuries. Fortunately, they are expected to be fully recovered by the opening round of Super Rugby Pacific.

The current injury list for the Chiefs includes Josh Lord, Tyrone Thompson, Kaleb Trask, and Gideon Wrampling.

Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan mentioned the potential for traveling All Blacks, including Samisoni Taukei’aho, Tupou Vaa’i, Samipeni Finau, Luke Jacobson, Damian McKenzie, and Anton Lienert-Brown, to feature in the second game against Kubota Spears Funabashi-Tokyo Bay, as All Blacks coach Scott Robertson aims for a flexible approach.

However, the final decision is yet to be confirmed.

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