The Chiefs will welcome back talisman Brodie Retallick for their playoff primer against the Hurricanes on Friday.
The All Blacks lock will make his long-awaited return from a pectoral injury in a dress rehearsal for their quarter-final against the same opponents in their playoff opener the following week.
The 27-year-old hasn't featured for the Chiefs since their loss to the Crusaders back in Round 16. He also missed the entire All Blacks series against France.
"It'll be good to get a decent number of minutes under the belt, but I guess the big focus is next week with the quarter-final," Retallick said. "I'm pretty keen to get a good hit-out."
Co-captain Sam Cane has been ruled out of Friday’s match due to concussion, while international first-five Damian McKenzie will be replaced by brother Marty, as he takes his final All Blacks-allocated rest.
Given the importance of Saturday's showdown, the timing of McKenzie's rest is far from ideal.
The do-or-die finals fixture against the Hurricanes is all but assured, but a bonus-point win by 23 points-plus in Hamilton this weekend would secure the Chiefs home-ground advantage.
It's a long-shot, but it's a shot nonetheless.
"To the critics that think we should have rested [McKenzie] earlier, we would've loved to," said coach Colin Cooper. “We just didn't have the time, after losing players earlier in the season.
“We needed to have our most experienced and talented players to help them.
"We're excited about what we can do this week and if we're lucky enough to get a home quarter-final, we'll be going hard for it."
Chasing a margin of victory that large against an offensive juggernaut like the Hurricanes is a tall order, but Retallick insists there won’t be any diversion from their usual approach.
"We'll just go out and play the way we have been. Obviously, we've played pretty well in the first half the last two matches, but then dropped away.
"That's been our focus this weekend – trying to build some momentum with an 80-minute performance."