Necessity means Chiefs forwards Brodie Retallick and Sam Cane will get little respite as Super Rugby makes its return, despite a heavy workload for the All Blacks.
Both have been included in the Chiefs’ starting line-up against the Crusaders for the clash between the top two teams in the New Zealand conference in Suva on Friday night.
The pair started all three Tests in New Zealand’s 3-0 sweep of Wales, with lock Retallick playing the full 80 minutes of the series opener.
Chiefs co-captain Cane finished the third Test, but the openside flanker’s game time in Dunedin was reduced by the 10 minutes he spent in the sinbin.
Chiefs forwards coach Neil Barnes says the coaching staff consulted with Retallick and Cane before confirming the match-day squad.
“They’re in good nick physically, but at the end of the day, if I had other options that I could use at this level, then I would,” he said.
“I still have a lot of trust in the guys behind them and we’ll just see how the game rolls along and play it by ear.”
The Chiefs’ lengthy injury list increased last week with lock Michael Allardice ruled out for the rest of the competition after damaging his right knee in the side’s 40-7 win over Wales.
They will have a high-powered bench to call on in the Fijian capital, with three All Blacks in hooker Nathan Harris, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and first five-eighth Aaron Cruden in the reserves.
“She’s pretty warm over here and the bench will have to be managed well,” Barnes said.
“We have a little bit of firepower to come on which is good.”
Cruden suffered a neck injury in the first Welsh Test and sat out the rest of the series, but has been give the all-clear to return to action.