There are fourteen changes to the Chiefs team for Saturday to face the Lions, with nine of those changes in the starting XV.
Hooker Nathan Harris and prop Josh Hohneck get their first starts of the season while Tanerau Latimer moves into the number six jersey in the forwards.
Tawera Kerr-Barlow is the starting half-back with James Lowe getting his first start on the wing since returning from injury. Tom Marshall comes in at inside centre and is joined in the midfield by Charlie Ngatai.
Dwayne Sweeney starts on the right wing. Tim Nanai-Williams moves from the wing back to full-back.
In the five changes to the bench, Mahonri Schwalger moves to the reserves and is joined by Ben Tameifuna for the first time this season. Mike Fitzgerald, Andrew Horrell and Bundee Aki all make up the new additions to the bench this week's fixture.
"We know we are in control of our own destiny and this is a defining match for us," said Chiefs coach Dave Rennie.
"We have boxed ourselves into a corner with recent results and now we need to come out fighting."
Chiefs: 15 Tim Nanai-Williams, 14 Dwayne Sweeney, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Tom Marshall, 11 James Lowe, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam (c), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Tanerau Latimer, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Ross Filipo, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Ben Tameifuna, 19 Matt Symons, 20 Michael Fitzgerald, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Bundee Aki, 23 Andrew Horrell.
Date: Saturday, May 3
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19:35 (local, 07:35 GMT)
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Mike Lash (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)