Official NZ team lists and injury news for this week's round of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.
Hurricanes v Rebels
7:05pm Friday, May 21
Sky Stadium, Wellington
Midfield dynamo Ngani Laumape will return to the Hurricanes starting line-up for their showdown against Melbourne Rebels.
The All Blacks centre, who'll depart for French club Stade Francais at the end of the season, missed the opening round 64-48 tryfest victory against the Waratahs for rest purposes, after featuring in all eight of the Hurricanes' Super Rugby Aotearoa fixtures.
In other backline changes, Jonathan Taumeteine takes over at halfback, while Orbyn Leger replaces the injured Ruben Love at first-five.
The 20-year-old Love was stretchered from the Sydney Cricket Ground pitch last weekend, but has escaped serious spinal injury and will likely only miss a week with concussion.
Wes Goosen slots onto the left wing in place of Salesi Rayasi, who misses out on the matchday squad, as coach Jason Holland looks to rotate his players.
Up front, tighthead prop Tyrel Lomax and lock Scott Scrafton move into the run-on side as the lone changes to the pack.
The bench has been overhauled, with utility Gareth Evans entering the fold, alongside the likes of prop Pouri Rakete-Stones and utility back Lolagi Visinia, who is poised for his Super Rugby debut.
"At the end of Super Rugby Aotearoa, we made it clear to the squad that there would be opportunities for players to show what they can do and we are determined to create plenty of competition for positions as we work through the coming weeks," says Holland.
Hurricanes: 1-Xavier Numia, 2-Dane Coles (c), 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-James Blackwell, 5-Scott Scrafton, 6-Reed Prinsep, 7-Du’Plessis Kirifi, 8-Devan Flanders, 9-Jonathan Taumateine, 10-Orbyn Leger, 11-Wes Goosen, 12-Ngani Laumape, 13-Billy Proctor, 14-Julian Savea, 15-Jordie Barrett.
Reserves: 16-Asafo Aumua, 17- Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18-Alex Fidow, 19-Liam Mitchell, 20-Brayden Iose, 21-Gareth Evans, 22-Cam Roigard 23-Lolagi Visinia
Force v Highlanders
9:45pm Friday, May 21 (NZ time)
NIB Stadium, Perth
Key forward Shanon Frizell will reclaim his starting spot on the side of the scrum for the Highlanders' clash against Western Force.
The All Blacks flanker was stood down by the side for their opening win against the Reds on Friday due to allegations of assault on a woman at a Dunedin bar earlier this month.
Last week, Highlanders chief executive Roger Clark stressed that Frizell wasn't being punished by the team and they were merely removing the distraction while police conducted their investigations.
The 27-year-old 13-test international will don the No.6 jersey as one of just three changes to last week's starting XV, with Bryn Evans rotating in to start at lock in place of Josh Dickson and Hugh Renton shifting to the back of the scrum, with Kazuki Himeno joining the bench.
The team will also be bolstered by the return of fullback Josh Ioane, who takes a place on the bench on his return from injury.
Highlanders: 1-Ayden Johnstone, 2-Ash Dixon (cc), 3-Siate Tokolahi, 4-Pari Pari Parkinson, 5-Bryn Evans, 6-Shannon Frizell, 7-Billy Harmon, 8-Hugh Renton, 9-Aaron Smith (cc), 10-Mitch Hunt, 11-Jona Nareki, 12-Scott Gregory, 13-Michael Collins, 14-Patelesio Tomkinson, 15-Sam Gilbert
Reserves: 16-Liam Coltman, 17-Ethan De Groot, 18-Josh Hohneck, 19-Josh Dickson, 20-Kazuki Himeno, 21-Kayne Hammington, 22-Josh Ioane, 23-Ngatugnane Punivai
Blues v Waratahs
4:35pm Saturday, May 22
Eden Park, Auckland
All Blacks forwards Patrick Tuipulotu and Dalton Papali'i are poised to return to the fold for the Blues clash against the Waratahs.
Captain Tuipulotu has missed the team's last five games due to a neck injury sustained in Super Rugby Aotearoa, while Papali'i hasn't featured since injuring his knee against the Crusaders in round nine.
Both have been named to the bench, after coming through Thursday's contact session unscathed.
The backline remains untouched from the one that demolished the Rebels 50-3 in Melbourne, but the pack has undergone several changes.
Ofa Tuungafasi returns at tighthead prop to spell fellow All Black Nepo Laulala, who's nursing an ankle issue.
Powerhouse No.8 Hoskins Sotutu will take a week off, after playing all the Blues’ games this season. Akira Ioane takes Sotutu's place at the back of the scrum, while Blake Gibson returns at openside flanker.
All Blacks prop Alex Hodgman has been named to the bench, after completing his suspension for a dangerous tackle that saw him red-carded in the Crusaders loss.
Blues: 1-Karl Tu'inukuafe, 2-Kurt Eklund, 3-Ofa Tuungafasi , 4-Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 5-Josh Goodhue, 6-Tom Robinson (c), 7-Blake Gibson, 8-Akira Ioane, 9-Finlay Christie, 10-Otere Black, 11-AJ Lam, 12-TJ Faiane, 13-Rieko Ioane, 14-Bryce Heem, 15-Zarn Sullivan
Reserves: 16-Soane Vikena, 17-Alex Hodgman, 18-Marcel Renata, 19-Patrick Tuipulotu, 20-Dalton Papali'i, 21-Sam Nock, 22-Harry Plummer, 23-Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens
Chiefs v Brumbies
7:05pm Saturday, May 22
FMG Stadium, Hamilton
The Chiefs have made four changes to the side that edged Western Force 20-19 in Perth last weekend.
Prop Atu Moli will make his long-awaited return from injury to take a spot on the bench.
A four-test All Black, Moli has missed over two years of action with an array of serious injuries, most recently a chronic hip dysfunction that required surgery.
Chiefs veteran Liam Messam earns his first start since being called into the squad. The 37-year-old will don the No.6 jersey, with Pita Gus Sowakula backing up from the bench.
Hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho and tighthead prop Sione Mafileo will join loosehead prop Aidan Ross in the starting front row, with Angus Ta'avao ruled out due to a hip injury.
The only change in the starting backline is Waikato utility back Bailyn Sullivan, who gets an opportunity on the right wing to combine with Jonah Lowe and Chase Tiatia at fullback.
Chiefs: 1-Aidan Ross, 2-Samisoni Taukei’aho, 3-Sione Mafileo, 4-Josh Lord, 5-Tupou Vaa’i, 6-Liam Messam,7-Lachlan Boshier, 8-Luke Jacobson, 9-Brad Weber, 10-Damian McKenzie, 11-Jonah Lowe, 12-Alex Nankivell, 13-Anton Lienert-Brown, 14-Bailyn Sullivan, 15-Chase Tiatia
Reserves: 16-Bradley Slater, 17-Ollie Norris, 18- Atu Moli, 19-Zane Kapeli, 20-Pita Gus Sowakula, 21-Xavier Roe, 22-Rameka Poihipi, 23-Kaleb Trask
Reds v Crusaders
9:45pm Saturday, May 22 (NZ time)
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
All Blacks winger George Bridge is expected to miss the rest of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, after having his appendix removed.
After helping the Crusaders to a razor-close win over ACT Brumbies last week from fullback, Bridge experienced stomach pain and was rushed to hospital with appendicitis.
Meanwhile, Scott Barrett will also miss this week’s clash with Queensland Reds - a battle of the respective Super Rugby champions from New Zealand and Australia.
The Crusaders captain was a late scratching last week, due to illness, and has been given another week to recover.
Coach Scott Robertson has still named a daunting line-up, with a backline featuring five All Blacks.
Will Jordan return to the No.15 jersey vacated by Bridge, with Sevu Reece and Leicester Fainga'anuku on the wings.
Braydon Ennor and David Havili form the midfield, with Mitchell Drummond partnering Richie Mo'unga in the halves.
Crusaders: 1-George Bower, 2-Codie Taylor, 3-Oliver Jager, 4-Mitchell Dunshea, 5-Sam Whitelock, 6-Whetukamokamo Douglas, 7-Ethan Blackadder, 8-Cullen Grace, 9-Mitchell Drummond, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 11-Leicester Fainga'anuku, 12-David Havili, 13-Braydon Ennor, 14-Sevu Reece, 15-Will Jordan
Reserves: 16-Brodie McAlister, 17-Tamati Williams, 18-Michael Alaalatoa, 19-Quinten Strange, 20-Sione Favili Talitui, 21-Bryn Hall, 22-Dallas McLoed, 23-Manasa Mataele
Join us for live updates of every game during round two of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman