Damian McKenzie

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.