Counties Manukau face off against Wellington in Pukekohe on Thursday in the first match of the 2013 ITM Cup.
Wellington, beaten semi-finalists last year, are boosted by the arrival of All Blacks Dane Coles and TJ Perenara who have been released from international duty.
The duo join fellow All Blacks number eight Victor Vito and captain Jeremy Thrush in the starting line-up. Two-cap prop John Schwalger, playing in his first match since returning from the Top 14, rounds out a strong international presence.
Schwalger is joined in the front row by Hurricanes prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen who has recovered from the knee injury that cruelly cut his Super Rugby season short.
Steelers coaches Tana Umaga and Steve Jackson too benefit from the trimming of the All Black squad, with Frank Halai named on the bench after only recently joining back up with the team.
Fritz Lee will captain the side from the back of a scrum which includes debutant prop Attila Va'a. Sam Aiono, Ryan Wilson and Sam Vaka could also make their debuts off the bench.
Counties Manukau: 15 Sherwin Stowers, 14 Ahsee Tuala, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Toni Pulu, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Fritz Lee , 7 Maama Vaipulu, 6 Adam Cathcart, 5 Sikeli Nabou, 4 Ronald Raaymakers, 3 Attila Va'a , 2 Suliasi Taufalele, 1 Simon Lemalu.
Replacements: 16 Mark Price, 17 Sam Aiono, 18 Ryan Wilson, 19 Sean Reidy, 20 Kane Hancy, 21 Sam Vaka, 22 Frank Halai.
Wellington: 15 Matt Proctor, 14 Joe Hill, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Adam Hill, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles , 1 John Schwalger.
Reserves: 16 Eugene Smith, 17 Tolu Fahamokioa, 18 Taniela Koroi, 19 Kaipati Gaualofa, 20 Faifili Levave, 21 Frae Wilson, 22 Afa Fa'atau.
Date: Thursday, August 14
bKick-off: 19:35 (9:35 GMT)
Venue: ECOLight stadium, Pukekohe