Official team lists and injury news for NZ teams in this week's round of Super Rugby Pacific.
Friday, May 26, 7pm
Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Aaron Smith will bid farewell to Dunedin in a Highlanders jersey, named to start in his final home Super Rugby Pacific appearance.
With the veteran halfback to leave New Zealand for Japan after this year's Rugby World Cup, and the Highlanders mathematically unable to finish in the top four, Smith will not get the chance to play at Forsyth Barr Stadium again in a Highlanders jersey.
Friday's clash will be Smith's 184th for the Highlanders, extending his record as the club's most capped player.
The only changes to the Highlanders starting side come in the backline.
Thomas Umaga-Jensen comes into the No.13 jersey to partner Sam Gilbert in midfield, after starting from the bench in last week's victory over Melbourne Rebels.
Mitch Hunt also takes the No.15 jersey from Connor Garden-Bachop in a straight swap, with Freddie Burns keeping his place as starting first-five.
Highlanders: 1-Ethan de Groot, 2-Andrew Makalio, 3-Jermaine Ainsley, 4-Pari Pari Parkinson, 5-Max Hicks, 6-Shannon Frizell, 7-Billy Harmon (c), 8-Hugh Renton, 9-Aaron Smith, 10-Freddie Burns, 11-Jona Nareki, 12-Sam Gilbert, 13-Thomas Umaga-Jensen, 14-Jonah Lowe, 15-Mitch Hunt
Reserves: 16-Rhys Marshall, 17-Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18-Saula Ma'u, 19-Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, 20-Sean Withy, 21-Folau Fakatava, 22-Connor Garden-Bachop, 23-Scott Gregory
Saturday, May 27, 4:30pm
Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch
With captain Scott Barrett taking his All Blacks-madated rest, veteran lock Sam Whitelock will return from a long injury break to play his first home game of the Super Rugby season.
International midfielder Jack Goodhue and fullback Will Jordan get the week off, after successfully returning from injuries mid-season, but most the other All Blacks are back on deck for the playoff run.
Former Chiefs prop Reuben O'Neill becomes the latest front-rower drafted into the Crusaders squad, with Joe Moody ruled out for the season.
Crusaders: 1-Kershawl Sykes-Martin, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Tamaiti Williams, 4-Quin Strange, 5-Sam Whitelock, 6-Christian Lio-Willie, 7-Tom Christie, 8-Cullen Grace, 9-Mitch Drummond, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 11-Leicester Fainga'anuku, 12-David Havili, 13-Braydon Ennor, 14-Dallas McLeod, 15-Fergus Burke
Reserves: 16-Brodie McAlister, 17-Seb Calder, 18-Reuben O'Neill, 19-Zach Gallagher, 20-Sione Talitui, 21-Noah Holtham, 22-Chay Fihaki, 23-Wil Gualter
Saturday, May 27, 7pm
Eden Park, Auckland
The Blues now have suspended captain Dalton Papli'i and injured/resting kingpin Beauden Barrett sidelined for a crucial local derby against the Wellingtonians, but regain their other All Blacks from their rest week.
Harry Plummer moves into the No.10 jersey, with Bryce Heem starting at second-five and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck again overlooked for the gameday squad.
Injured international Stephen Perofeta returns to play, via the bench.
Blues: 1-Ofa Tuungafasi, 2-Ricky Riccitelli, 3-Nepo Laulala, 4-Patrick Tuipulotu, 5-Cameron Suafoa, 6-Akira Ioane, 7-Adrian Choat, 8-Hoskins Sotutu, 9-Finlay Christie, 10-Harry Plummer, 11-Caleb Clarke, 12-Bryce Heem, 13-Rieko Ioane, 14-Mark Telea, 15-Zarn Sullivan
Reserves: 16-Kurt Eklund, 17-Jordan Lay, 18-Marcel Renata, 19-James Tucker, 20-Anton Segner, 21-Sam Nock, 22-Stephen Perofeta, 23-AJ Lam/Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens
The Hurricanes have brought their All Blacks stars back into the fold to face the Blues, a game that looms as a must-win for their chances of a home quarter-final.
After sitting out of last week's defeat against the Chiefs on All Blacks rest orders, captain Ardie Savea, Jordie Barrett, Asafo Aumua and Tyrel Lomax will all start at Eden Park.
Former All Black Brett Cameron comes onto the bench as cover for Aidan Morgan at first-five.
Hurricanes: 1-Xavier Numia, 2-Asafo Aumua, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-James Blackwell, 5-Isaia Walker-Leawere, 6-Caleb Delany, 7-Du'Plessis Kirifi, 8-Ardie Savea (c), 9-Cam Roigard, 10-Aidan Morgan, 11-Kini Naholo, 12-Jordie Barrett, 13-Billy Proctor, 14-Julian Savea, 15-Josh Moorby
Reserves: 16-Hame Faiva, 17-Tevita Mafileo, 18-Owen Franks, 19-Justin Sangster, 20-Brayden Iose, 21-Jamie Booth, 22-Brett Cameron, 23-Salesi Rayasi
Saturday, May 27, 9:30pm
GIO Stadium, Canberra
The Chiefs have handed the reins to Josh Ioane to face the Brumbies, with Damian McKenzie shifting to fullback in a backline shuffle.
Ioane returns to the starting line-up, while Anton Lienert-Brown and Tupou Vaa'i both sit out of the clash on All Blacks rest orders.
Rameka Poihipi comes into the side for Lienert-Brown, while Laghlan McWhannell starts in the second row alongside Brodie Retallick.
Chiefs: 1-Aidan Ross, 2-Samisoni Taukei'aho, 3-George Dyer, 4-Brodie Retallick, 5-Laghlan McWhannell, 6-Pita Gus Sowakula, 7-Sam Cane (cc), 8-Luke Jacobson, 9-Brad Weber (cc), 10-Josh Ioane, 11-Etene Nanai-Seturo, 12-Rameka Poihipi, 13-Alex Nankivell, 14-Emoni Nankivell, 14-Emoni Narawa, 15-Damian McKenzie
Reserves: 16-Bradley Slater, 17-Ollie Norris, 18-John Ryan, 19-Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20-Samipeni Finau, 21-Cortez Ratima, 22-Daniel Rona, 23-Shaun Stevenson
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