All Blacks fullback Ben Smith will return to the Highlanders for their critical final round clash with the Waratahs on Friday.
Assistant coach Glen Delaney confirmed that Smith will reclaim the number 15 jersey for their do-or-die match in Invercargill, having missed the past five rounds with a hamstring injury.
A bonus point win over the Sydneysiders would virtually guarantee them a place in the Super Rugby playoffs, and having Smith's skill and veteran savvy on board is a huge boost for the Southerners.
"He's out there training and rearing to go," said Delaney. "That's Ben, he's full of enthusiasm.
"The best team's going be put on the park on Friday night. Ben's trained today and we'll see how the rest of the week goes."
Smith trained without any restrictions at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Tuesday, providing a firm indication that he should be ready to go this weekend.
"He's no different to any other player at the minute… he's had a good morning and he's excited, which tends to mean everyone else is."
Delaney said he expects that positive vibe to continue throughout the week. Any talk about bonus points has been set to the side, with the target set first and foremost on securing victory.
"Our focus and our game plan will be to go out and give ourselves the best chance, and that best chance is to score as many tries as we can.
"You'll see the full tank emptied, everything is going to be on offer."