Cape Town - The Highlanders will be without star scrumhalf Aaron Smith for Saturday’s match against the Lions in Dunedin.
According to the Stuff website, it will be the first of two matches the All Blacks scrumhalf is required to sit out before the three-Test series against France in June. As a result, Kayne Hammington will make his second start of the season at No 9.
Flank Dillon Hunt is also being rested, with James Lentjes wearing the No 7 openside jersey for the first time in 2018.
The Highlanders lost 38-12 to the Sharks in Durban last Saturday, while the Lions went down 28-19 to the Hurricanes in Wellington.
The Lions, who will name their team later on Thursday, have only beaten the Highlanders once in Dunedin, way back in 2011.
The Lions, who are top of the South African Conference with six wins and five losses, will go into the match without star Springboks hooker Malcolm Marx, who injured his hamstring against the Hurricanes and is expected to miss six weeks of action.