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Hika Elliot returns for Chiefs

Published: 5:06PM Thursday February 28, 2013 Source: ONE Sport

The Chiefs have made four changes to their starting line-up for the round three Super Rugby clash against the Cheetahs at Waikato Stadium on Saturday night.

Hooker Hika Elliot's calf injury has recovered to see him take the reins off young hooker Rhys Marshall who moves to the bench after impressing in the 41-27 win over the Highlanders last week. 

Lock Michael Fitzgerald, halfback Augustine Pulu and winger Lelia Masaga all start with Craig Clarke, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Patrick Osborne moving into the reserves. 

The Cheetahs opened their Super Rugby season with a hard fought 22-29 home loss to the Sharks and over the past few seasons have shown a willingness to move the ball.

"Out of all the South African sides the Cheetahs probably play a style that is closest to ours," Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said.

"They are innovative and can score tries from anywhere around the park and like all South African sides they are big and physical."

"We had a really free flowing match against them in Bloemfontein last year, and we are expecting them to play a style of game similar to us, which is a free flowing, high paced, ruck and run game."

Following Saturday's night clash, the Chiefs will hit the road for their South African tour where they will play the Stormers and Kings.

Chiefs: Gareth Anscombe, Lelia Masaga, Tim Nanai-Williams, Bundee Aki, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Aaron Cruden, Augustine Pulu, Fritz Lee, Sam Cane, Liam Messam (c), Brodie Retallick, Michael Fitzgerald, Ben Afeaki, Hika Elliot, Pauliasi Manu.

Reserves: Rhys Marshall, Ben Tameifuna, Craig Clarke, Tanerau Latimer, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Charlie Ngatai, Patrick Osborn