Injuries are overshadowing the build-up of both the Highlanders and Chiefs ahead of their pre-season Super Rugby trial in Queenstown on Saturday.
There is serious concern in the Chiefs' camp about a neck injury suffered in training by hooker Hika Elliot - a setback that will definitely keep him out of the Queenstown fixture, with results of a scan being awaited.
"We're not sure about the length of that injury yet," Chiefs coach Dave Rennie told stuff.co.nz.
Co-captain Liam Messam is also out this week after a calf injury, while Alex Bradley is to have a scan on an ankle injury and is unlikely to play against the Highlanders.
Sam Cane and Declan O'Donnell are likely to return from injury next week, along with Sonny Bill Williams after last Wednesday's boxing bout.
Co-captain Craig Clarke is back from his shoulder injury to play this week.
The Chiefs team will be finalised closer to kick-off.
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph named his team, despite a growing injury list.
The Highlanders are facing a major injury crisis three weeks out from the start of the Super Rugby season.
The most recent additions to the injury list are Southland midfielder Kendrick Lynn and wing Kade Poki. Both sustained injuries during the 19-47 loss to the Crusaders in Greymouth last Friday - with Lynn fracturing his neck and Poki suffering a medial ligament strain to his knee.
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said Poki would be "touch and go" for their opening Super Rugby game against the Chiefs in Hamilton on February 25, but Lynn's injury was more severe and he was likely to be sidelined for the next two months.
The Highlanders are already dealing with a horror injury roster that includes All Black flyhalf Colin Slade, who is on the comeback from a hernia operation, and lock Jarrad Hoeata, who will be out for the first six weeks of the season while he recovers from a torn pectoral muscle.
Southlanders Jamie Mackintosh and Josh Bekhuis are also working their way back after undergoing off-season operations.
Highlanders: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Ben Smith, 12 Glenn Dickson, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Doug Tietjens, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Nick Crosswell (captain), 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Bronson Murray.
Replacements - from: Andrew Hore, Chris King, Hoani MacDonald, Elliot Dixon, Jimmy Cowan, Chris Noakes, Buxton Popoali'i, Nemia Kenatale, Brayden Mitchell, Josh Bekhuis.
Date: Saturday, February 11
Venue: Recreation Ground, Queenstown
Kick-off: 17.00 (04.00 GMT)
Referee: Bryce Lawrence
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson, Michael Lash
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