Quinn Tupaea returns for Chiefs in side to face Robbie Deans’ Wild Knights


After tearing his ACL in 2022’s Bledisloe Cup, All Blacks midfielder Quinn Tupaea will make his return to Super Rugby Pacific’s pre-season for the Chiefs when the team line up against League One’s undefeated Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights on Sunday.

The 24-year-old will square off with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende at second five-eighth, while more familiar faces from The Rugby Championship in Lood de Jager and Marika Koroibete will also feature in the contest under former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

Kaylum Boshier will share captaincy honours for the Chiefs with Rameka Poihipi, and square off with his brother Lachlan Boshier at openside flanker.

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With the Chiefs’ 2023 Rugby World Cup participants still on All Blacks leave, seven members of club’s wider training squad have been drafted in to feature in the contest: Tana Tahukaraina, Josh Jacomb, Millenium Sanerivi, Wallace Sititi, Tevita Ofa, Cody Nordstrom and Riley Hohepa.

Playmaker for the NPC-winning Taranaki side in 2023, Josh Jacomb will spark interest starting at fullback, having surprisingly not made the Chiefs squad for 2024.

Aidan Ross and Naitoa Ah Kuoi will suit up in the contest having ventured to Japan in 2023 as members of the All Blacks XV on their successful two-game tour of the land of the rising sun.

The dangerous backline trio of Shaun Stevenson, Emoni Narawa and Etene Nanai-Seturo are all absent from the travelling squad due to injury but are expected to be healthy by Super Rugby Pacific’s opening round.

Josh Lord, Tyrone Thompson, Kaleb Trask and Gideon Wrampling are the others to feature on the Chiefs’ current injury list.

Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan said there was potential for travelling All Blacks Samisoni Taukei’aho, Tupou Vaa’i, Samipeni Finau, Luke Jacobson, Damian McKenzie and Anton Lienert-Brown to feature in the second of the Japan games against Kubota Spears Funabashi-Tokyo Bay.

“Razor (All Blacks coach Scott Robertson) wants to take a pretty flexible approach, so there’s potentially one or two that may get some minutes in the second game, but we haven’t signed off on that yet.”

Chiefs team to play Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights:

1. Ollie Norris
2. Bradley Slater
3. George Dyer
4. Jimmy Tupou
5. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
6. Samipeni Finau
7. Kaylum Boshier (Co-Captain)
8. Malachi Wrampling
9. Xavier Roe
10. Josh Ioane
11. Peniasi Malimali
12. Quinn Tupaea
13. Rameka Poihipi (Co-Captain)
14. Tana Tuhakaraina
15. Josh Jacomb

16. Millenium Sanerivi
17. Aidan Ross
18. Reuben O’Neill
19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit
20. Wallace Sititi
21. Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi
22. Tevita Ofa
23. Liam Coombes-Fabling
24. Riley Hohepa
25. Cody Nordstrom
26. Hamilton Burr
27. Jared Proffit
28. Kauvaka Kaivelata





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