Powerhouse centre Seta Tamanivalu has been cleared of an ankle injury and will start in a little-changed Chiefs side to face the Waratahs in Sydney on Friday.
Tamanivalu was in doubt after taking a knock during last Saturday’s 36-15 win over the Melbourne Rebels which returned the Chiefs to top of the Super Rugby table.
His rehabilitation is welcome as the Chiefs are without concussed midfield back Charlie Ngatai for a second week.
Fijian-born Taranaki back Tamanivalu is enjoying his best season, scoring five tries in his last five games, and is being whispered as a potential All Black bolter when the first Test squad of the year is unveiled on Sunday.
The only starting change is the promotion of Tom Sanders from the reserves bench in place of No.8 Michael Leitch. Japan captain Leitch is out for 8-10 weeks after dislocating his thumb against the Rebels.
Lachlan Boshier comes onto the bench for a Chiefs side potentially playing their last game of the season in Hamilton.
Their games after the looming June international window are against the Crusaders in Fiji, the Reds in Brisbane and Highlanders in Dunedin.
The Chiefs won’t be guaranteed a home play-off game unless they can hold onto top spot.
Chiefs: Damian McKenzie, Toni Pulu, Seta Tamanivalu, Anton Lienert-Brown, James Lowe, Aaron Cruden, Brad Weber, Tom Sanders, Sam Cane, Taleni Seu, Brodie Retallick, Dominic Bird, Hiroshi Yamashita, Nathan Harris, Mitchell Graham. Reserves: Hika Elliot, Kane Hames, Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, Michael Allardice, Lachlan Boshier, Kayne Hammington, Andrew Horrell, Sam Vaka.