Chiefs debutants Jamie Mackintosh and Robbie Fruean
All Black veteran Mils Muliaina will play at fullback for the Chiefs against the Crusaders on Friday in what will be his first match in New Zealand since 2011.
Muliaina left the Chiefs after winning the World Cup on home soil in 2011, and after three years playing in Japan he is ready to resume his Super Rugby career in Christchurch this weekend alongside Chiefs debutants Jamie Mackintosh and Robbie Fruean.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said: We have a lot of respect for the Crusaders and are excited by this match up. The boys have been training since November and we have been planning since August, so we are really looking forward to the competition starting properly."
The match in Christchurch will be an opportunity for some of the young players in the squad who have shown potential in the last few weeks to make their Super Rugby debut.
This includes flank Tevita Kolomatangi who starts in the No.7 jersey and Nathan Harris, James Lowe and Matt Symons/Liam Squire and Anton Lienert-Brown if confirmed to play, who get their chance to make their debuts off the bench.
Chiefs: 15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden (captain), 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Kane Thompson, 7 Tevita Koloamatangi, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Jamie Mackintosh.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Ben Afeaki, 19 Matt Symons/Liam Squire, 20 Nick Crosswell, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Andrew Horrell/Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 James Lowe.
Date: Friday, February 21
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick-off: 19.35 (06.35 GMT)
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Mike Lash (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Watt (New Zealand)