The Speights Highlanders, fresh from the bye, welcome several players for their first start of the competition against the Hurricanes. Giant lock Pari Pari Parkinson returns from a long-term injury to partner the veteran, Bryn Evans, in the middle row.
All Blacks and Highlanders halfback Aaron Smith's notable career has seen him ranked among the great contributors to New Zealand's game and he has been a player whose influence has been so significant both sides built a style of play around him.
All Blacks, Highlanders and Manawatu Turbos fans will be celebrating, with halfback Aaron Smith announcing that he has signed a new contract with New Zealand Rugby (NZR), his Highlanders club and Manawatu provincial union that will see him stay in New Zealand through until 2023.
Fuelled by the disappointment of their first loss to Argentina in their last outing, the All Blacks responded in the expected manner to all but secure another Investec Tri Nations when winning 38-0 in Newcastle on Saturday.
Taking advantage of their bye week in the Investec Tri Nations tournament, the All Blacks will be asking themselves some serious questions coach Ian Foster said in the wake of their 15-25 loss to Argentina on Saturday in Sydney.
Bledisloe Cup reality was hit home to Australia when the All Blacks were rampant in the first half to lay the foundation for a triumphant and record-breaking 43-5 win at Sydney's ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
Normally making five changes to a starting side in a Test match is a cause for concern, but that may not be the case for Australia as they seek a vital win in Sydney on Saturday in their bid to regain the Bledisloe Cup from the All Blacks.