Damian McKenzie

Damian McKenzie becomes latest star to pen new NZR deal

McKenzie lead the Chiefs to their ninth successive win of the season, against the Crusaders, and just 24 hours later has penned a new contract with the Chiefs and NZR.

“I’m grateful to be able to continue my career here in New Zealand with the Gallagher Chiefs and New Zealand Rugby for the next two years,” said McKenzie.

100 up for Chiefs star man Damian McKenzie against the Waratahs

The creative star made his debut for the club in 2015 and has gone on to win over 800 points for the Chiefs since.

Planet Rugby reports alongside the soon-to-be centurion in the back-three will be winger Etene Nanai-Seturo and Emoni Narawa. Meanwhile, Rameka Poihipi joins Alex Nankivell in the midfield.

Bryn Gatland starts at fly-half alongside one of the co-captains this week, Brad Weber.

Robust pack

Pita Gus Sowakula moves to number eight to allow space for the hard-running Samipeni Finau and co-captain Sam Cane on the flanks.

McKenzie penalty secures Chiefs a golden win

With the scores level at 23-23 after 80 minutes, and after McKenzie had missed a dropped goal and an earlier penalty, the All Blacks fullback nailed a 45m effort to seal the dramatic win.

The victory reverses the result from the last time the two teams clashed, a second round match in February won by a dramatic second-half comeback from the Highlanders.

The Chiefs led 10-5 at halftime after a scrappy first 40 minutes that saw a slew of penalties and opportunities missed.

Damian McKenzie to start at first five for Maori

Coach Colin Cooper has named All Blacks Akira Ioane, Tawera Kerr Barlow and Rieko Ioane in his starting fifteen along with Nehe Milner Skudder.

Hawke's Bay's Ash Dixon will captain the side which features just two new caps in reserves, Bryn Hall and Rob Thompson.

"We've named a strong group who all have good clarity on how we want to play this match against the Lions. We feel Damian will suit the game plan that we want to play, from the number 10 position, "

Cooper said he was pleased with the way the players had connected throughout the week.

McKenzie's move brings Chiefs changes

McKenzie will have veteran Stephen Donald outside him at second-five, with Anton Lienert-Brown shifting out to start at centre in Melbourne for the table-toppers, following their third win on the trot when they saw off the Hurricanes in Hamilton last Friday.

Twenty-one year-old Northland outside back Solomon Alaimalo will make his Super Rugby debut on the left wing while Shaun Stevenson will start at fullback.

Assistant coach Neil Barnes said McKenzie "prefers to play 10" and this week was a chance for him to impress with regular first-five Aaron Cruden on the bench.