WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand's 2011 Rugby World Cup hero Stephen Donald will captain an inexperienced Chiefs lineup against the British and Irish Lions Tuesday in what will be the visitors' last warmup before the three-test series against the All Blacks.
The 33-year-old Donald, a veteran of 100 matches for the Waikato-based Chiefs, is by far the most-seasoned member of a lineup depleted by the loss of players to the All Blacks and the New Zealand Maori squads.
Donald became a New Zealand rugby folk hero in 2011 when, as the All Blacks' fourth-choice flyhalf, he took the field as a replacement in the World Cup final and kicked the winning penalty in the 8-7 win over France.
Center Tim Nanai-Williams, who played for Samoa against the All Blacks in Auckland on Friday, is the next most-experienced member of the Chiefs lineup with 82 appearances.
Lock Dominic Bird and prop Nepo Laulala are the only All Blacks among the Chiefs starting lineup while hooker Hika Elliot and backrower Liam Messam, who both played for the Maori in a 32-10 loss to the Lions on Saturday, are included on the bench.
The Chiefs' selection casts the spotlight on a number of their rising stars including wingers Toni Pulu and Solomon Alaimalo, center Johnny Faauli and backrower Lachlan Boshier.
Chiefs: Shaun Stevenson, Toni Pulu, Tim Nanai-Williams, Johnny Faauli, Solomon Alaimalo, Stephen Donald (captain), Finlay Christie; Tom Sanders, Lachlan Boshier, Mitchell Brown, Michael Allardice, Dominic Bird, Nepo Laulala, Liam Polwort, Siegried Fisi'ihoi. Replacements: Hika Elliot, Aidan Ross, Atu Moli, Liam Messam, Mitchell Karpik, Jonathan Taumateine, Luteru Laulala, Chase Tiatia.