The Chiefs welcome back All Black pair Brodie Retallick and Dominic Bird to their second-row for Friday's home fixture against the Blues.
Buoyed by a thrilling 48-23 victory over the Brumbies, the Chiefs have been working hard this week to prepare for their first local derby home game as they hope to earn their sixth consecutive win before they head into a bye week.
The Super Rugby Australasian Conference leaders have been bolstered by the inclusion of All Blacks Retallick and also Tawera Kerr-Barlow who both return from injury. Imposing 2.06m lock Bird will don the Chiefs jersey for the first time, having recovered fully from a foot fracture he sustained in late 2015 following his move north to join the two-time Super Rugby champions from the Crusaders.
There are several other changes to the starting XV who defeated the Brumbies last Saturday in Canberra. Atu Moli earns his first start at tighthead prop, Maama Vaipulu is promoted from the bench to start at blindside flanker along with impressive outside back Shaun Stevenson.
In the reserves, flanker Sam Henwood and winger Sam McNicol return to the 23 where they are joined by a powerful line-up of players ready to add impact off the bench.
Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (cc), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (cc), 6 Maama Vaipulu, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Mitchell Graham
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Sam Henwood, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Seta Tamanivalu, 23 Sam McNicol
Date: Friday, April 8
Venue: FMG Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown
Assistant Referees: Chris Pollock, Kane McBride
TMO: Shane McDermott