Sailosi Tagicakibau has made a remarkable recovery from a broken leg and will line up for Taranaki against the British & Irish Lions on Wednesday.
The right wing, who has eight Tests caps for Samoa, suffered a hairline fracture of his right leg during the Chiefs’ 37-34 Super 12 win over the Stormers in Cape Town on April 30 and was expected to be out for at least six to eight weeks.
But the 22-year-old has worked hard on his recovery and told the Taranaki Daily News: "It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I wasn’t going to miss it because of a broken bone in my leg."
The Taranaki pack will be bolstered by the return of former All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore, flanker Chris Masoe and lock Paul Tito.
Tito was part of the New Zealand Maori team who defeated Fiji last week, while Hore and Masoe were in the winning Possibles side in last Friday’s All Blacks trial.
The match will also be special for prop Gordon Slater, who played against the Lions in 1993.
Taranaki team to face the Lions: Scott Ireland; Sailosi Tagicakibau, Mark Stewart, Chris Woods, Lifeimi Mafi, Sam Young; Craig Fevre, Tomasi Soqeta; Tony Penn, Andrew Hore, Gordon Slater, John Willis, Paul Tito (capt), Scott Breman, Chris Masoe.
Reserves: Phil Mitchell, Hamish Mitchell, Jason Eaton, Richard Bryant, Mathew Harvey, Brendon Watt, James King.