Waisake Naholo and Tevita Nabura have not been included in the Highlanders team that will face the Chiefs in the Super Rugby opener this Friday.
Waisake Naholo is missing the game because the Highlanders have adopted the plan to gradually reintroduce their All Blacks while Tevita Nabura got injured this week.
Stuff.co.nz reports Ben Smith will start while Aaron Smith is on the bench.
Liam Squire is not in the team.
That means Kayne Hammington starts in the No 9 jersey with Tevita Li on the left wing and Jackson Hemopo starting at No 6.
Josh Ioane has been given the chance to run the Highlanders' attack.
A degree of revenge might also be on the Highlanders minds after two losses to the Chiefs last year ‑ a 27‑22 defeat in Hamilton in round 7 and a 45‑22 thumping in the 'home' game they took to Fiji in round 17.
The Super Rugby competition will kick off at 6.35pm Friday with the Chiefs taking on the Highlanders in Waikato while the Brumbies will meet the Rebels at 8.45pm.
On Saturday, the Blues will meet the Crusaders at 6.35pm at Eden Park while the Waratahs will face the Hurricanes at 8.45pm.
The Sunwolves also face the Sharks at 10.55pm Saturday.
The Bulls meet the Stormers at 3.15am Sunday while the Lions face the Jaguares at 9.40am Sunday.
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