The Chiefs’ hopes of snatching Super Rugby quarter-final hosting rights off the Hurricanes have waned after naming a team well short of full strength.
The teams meet in the final round of the regular season in Hamilton on Friday and will almost certainly square off again in the first round of the play-offs next week.
Sitting five points clear of their rivals in second place in the New Zealand conference, the Hurricanes are in the box seat.
To leapfrog them, the Chiefs must win by at least 22 points on Friday and snare a bonus point.
Coach Colin Cooper has rested in-form playmaker Damian McKenzie, who has only missed one match this season.
Under All Black stipulations, McKenzie is required to sit out two games. He is replaced at five-eighth by brother Marty.
Also missing from the team who pipped the Brumbies 24-19 last week are Test flanker Sam Cane (concussion), centre Sean Wainui (shoulder) and hooker Nathan Harris (thigh) while All Blacks prop Karl Tu’inukuafe is on the bench, along with veteran No.8 Liam Messam.
There are six changes to the pack, including the return of All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick (chest) in his first match for six weeks.
The Hurricanes have made three starting changes to the team who thumped the Blues 42-24.
Ben Lam returns on the left wing in place of Julian Savea while prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen and lock Michael Fatialofa are in the pack.
Ngani Laumape, who scored four tries against the Blues, is retained at inside centre.
CHIEFS: Solomon Alaimalo, Toni Pulu, Anton Lienert-Brown, Charlie Ngatai (co- capt), Shaun Stevenson, Marty McKenzie, Brad Weber, Jesse Parete, Mitchell Karpik, Lachlan Boshier, Tyler Ardron, Brodie Retallick, Angus Taavao, Liam Polwart, Sam Prattley. Res: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Jeff Thwaites, Michael Allardice, Liam Messam, Lachlan Boshier, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Tiaan Falcon, Jonathan Faauli.
HURRICANES: Jordie Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Wes Goosen, Ngani Laumape, Ben Lam, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Blade Thomson, Sam Henwood, Brad Shields (capt), Sam Lousi, Michael Fatialofa, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Ricky Riccitelli, Toby Smith. Res: James O’Reilly, Chris Eves, Ben May, Gareth Evans, Reed Prinsep, Finlay Christie, Ihaia West, Julian Savea.