Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx was skipper in his absence and the bustling No 2 will play off the bench in this game, giving Robbie Coetzee a starting berth in the middle of the front row.
Other tweaks to the combination that suffered a 31-20 defeat to the Brumbies in Canberra last weekend see former Junior Bok star Gianni Lombard replacing Elton Jantjies at flyhalf and Ross Cronje swopping places with Nic Groom at scrumhalf.
Courtnall Skosan (wing) has returned to South Africa due to the serious illness of his father, and Tyler Green flew out to New Zealand as his replacement. As a result, Sylvian Mahuza moves from fullback to right wing to replace Skosan, and Andries Coetzee slots back into the No 15 jersey.
Scrumhalf Brad Weber will captain the Chiefs in the absence of co-captains Brodie Retallick and Sam Cane. History favours the Waikato team in this fixture with seven wins from 10 previous meetings between the sides. However, the Emirates Lions were victorious the last time these two sides met, by 36-32 in Hamilton in 2016.
What they said:
Emirates Lions head coach Swys de Bruin is looking for an improvement from his troops following their loss in Canberra: “There were positive aspects on attack against the Brumbies and we want to build on that. Overall, we have to be better in all departments though we are looking forward to this game.”
Chiefs: 15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Alex Nankivell, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Ataata Moeakiola, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber (captain), 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Tyler Ardron, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Liam Polwart, 1 Angus Ta'avao. Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Sosefo Kautai, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Pita Gus Sowakula, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Tumua Manu, 23 Shaun Stevenson.
Emirates Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Franco Naude, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Gianni Lombard, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Sti Sithole. Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Frans van Wyk, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Ruan Combrinck.
Head to head:
Chiefs won: 7
Emirates Lions won: 3
Chiefs points: 377
Emirates Lions points: 264
Average score: 38-26
Date: Friday, 19 April
SA time: 09h35
Venue: FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser, Rasta Rasivhenge
Television Match Official: Shane McDermott