Kayne Hammington and Matt Faddes will fill the voids left by injured All Blacks Aaron Smith and Waisake Naholo, when the Highlanders host the Hurricanes in Super Rugby on Friday.
Halfback Smith, who re-signed with NZ Rugby this week, may miss up to six weeks' Super Rugby with an ankle injury suffered during the southerners' last outing - their loss to the Blues two weeks ago.
Winger Naholo has been ruled out for about the same period, with a knee injury sustained in training on Monday.
With international loose forward Liam Squire also on the long-term injured bench, coach Aaron Mauger has had to dig deep into his reserves to cover the high-profile absences.
Mauger probably has more depth among the loosies, where he has the luxury of giving All Black Dillon Hunt the week off.
James Lentjes will fill the openside spot, alongside All Blacks Luke Whitelock and Shannon Frizell, with internationals Jackson Hemopo and Elliot Dixon coming off the bench.
Marty Banks retains his first-five start outside Hammington, while Tei Walden and Richard Buckman are rotated into the midfield.
Highlanders: 1-Ayden Johnstone, 2-Liam Coltman, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-Josh Dickson, 5-Tom Franklin, 6-Shannon Frizell, 7-James Lentjes, 8-Luke Whitelock (cc), 9-Kayne Hammington, 10-Marty Banks, 11-Tevita Li, 12-Teihorangi Walden, 13-Richard Buckman, 14-Matt Faddes, 15-Ben Smith (cc)
Reserves: 16-Ash Dixon, 17-Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18-Siate Tokolahi, 19-Jackson Hemopo, 20-Elliot Dixon, 21-Folau Fakatava, 22-Josh Ioane, 23-Rob Thompson
Join us at 7:30pm Friday for live updates of the Highlanders vs Hurricanes Super Rugby clash.