Canterbury know they must win to stay in touch with pace-setters Wellington when they face Otago on Saturday.
The ITM Cup holders are ten points adrift of the Lions but do possess two games in hand.
And despite now losing openside Matt Todd to go with a whole host of other international stars, Canterbury's line-up still looks incredibly strong.
Ryan Crotty and Adam Whitelock form the midfield combination with Tom Taylor at full-back and the in-form Tyler Bleyendaal wearing number ten.
George Whitelock skippers the team while there's strength on the bench in the form of Corey Flynn, Luke Whitelock, Andy Ellis and Johnny McNicholl.
Otago meanwhile are third in the ITM Cup Championship, five points off the Tasman Makos.
Their side includes Hayden Parker and Fumiaki Tanaka while Liam Coltman is hooker.
Canterbury: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Patrick Osborne, 13 Adam Whitelock, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Milford Keresoma, 10 Tyler Bleyendaal, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Jed Brown, 6 George Whitelock (c), 5 Matt Symons, 4 Luke Katene, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Paea Fa'anunu, 18 Joel Everson, 19 Luke Whitelock, 20 Andy Ellis, 21 Rob Thompson, 22 Johnny McNicholl.
Otago: 15 Peter Breen, 14 Matt Faddes, 13 Kieran Moffatt, 12 Jayden Spence, 11 Fa'asiu Fuatai, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Paul Grant (c), 7 Hugh Blake, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Tom Donnelly, 3 Scott Manson, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Craig Millar.
Replacements: 16 Sam Anderson-Heather, 17 Tama Tuirirangi, 18 Charlie O'Connell, 19 TJ Ioane, 20 Willis Scott, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Michael Collins.
Date: Saturday, September 14
Kick-off: 16:35 (05:35 BST, 04:35 GMT)
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch