Donald at inside center for Chiefs in Super Rugby playoff
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) Veteran flyhalf Stephen Donald has been named at inside center in the Chiefs team to face the Stormers in a Super Rugby quarterfinal at Cape Town.
The 33-year-old Donald, who kicked the winning penalty for New Zealand against France in the 2011 Rugby World Cup final, replaces injured All Blacks center Charlie Ngatai for Saturday’s match.
Alex Nankivell was unavailable because of illness and Johnny Fa’auli was not included, leaving coach Dave Rennie to choose between Donald and Samoa’s Tim Nanai-Williams, who is named on the bench.
There are three changes to the Chiefs’ forward pack. Flanker Sam Cane and lock Brodie Retallick return after being rested last weekend at the end of the All Blacks’ series against the British and Irish Lions. Backrower Liam Messam also returns after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Lock Dominic Bird is on the bench, kept out of the starting lineup by the in-form Mitchell Brown.
”Browny’s selection was pretty compulsory,” assistant coach Kieran Keane said. ”We couldn’t see a way not to pick him because of what he’d achieved and what he was doing at the time.”
Chiefs: Damian McKenzie, Solomon Alaimalo, Anton Lienert-Brown, Stephen Donald, James Lowe, Aaron Cruden (co-captain), Tawera Kerr-Barlow; Michael Leitch, Sam Cane (co-captain), Liam Messam, Mitchell Brown, Brodie Retallick, Nepo Laulala, Nathan Harris, Kane Hames. Replacements: Liam Polwart, Aidan Ross, Atu Moli, Dominic Bird, Lachlan Boshier, Finlay Christie, Tim Nanai-Williams, Shaun Stevenson.