Another Kiwi derby in round 8 and for the Chiefs, this is really a must win if they’re to avoid falling further back into the also-rans.
Last year’s finalists started the season in dream fashion, recording three good wins on the road, but have fallen alarmingly off the pace, losing at home to the Reds and the Crusaders and away to the Brumbies in recent weeks. They simply have to pick up a bonus points win against the Highlanders to keep themselves in touch, but will be forced to do so without a number of key players, including start hooker Aled de Malmanche, who may be out for the season.
This visitors are up against it in a big way and will be without stalwart prop Jamie Mackinstosh and lock Tom Donnely.
Ref: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
ARs: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)
Venue:Baypark Stadium, Mount Maunganui
Kick-off: 08h35 SA Time, 07h35 BST
Chiefs: 15 Mils Muliaina (captain), 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Stephen Donald, 11 Dwayne Sweeney, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Sione Lauaki, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Vern Kamo, 17 Toby Smith, 18 Jarrad Hoeata, 19 Colin Bourke 20 Junior Poluleuligaga, 21 Jackson Willison, 22 Tim Nanai-Williams.
Highlanders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Ben Smith, 13 Kenny Lynn, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Fetu’u Vainikolo, 10 Robbie Robinson, 9 Jimmy Cowan (captain), 8 Steven Setephano, 7 Alando Soakai, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Clint Newland, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Chris King.
Replacements: 16 Jason Macdonald, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Joe Tuineau, 19 Tim Boys/John Hardie, 20 Sean Romans, 21 Mat Berquist, 22 James Paterson.