Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has made four changes to his starting line-up to play the Cheetahs in their first Super Rugby home game on Saturday.
All Black hooker Hika Elliot's calf injury has recovered to see him take the reins off young hooker Rhys Marshall, who moves to the bench.
Lock Michael Fitzgerald, scrumhalf Augustine Pulu and wing Lelia Masaga all start with Craig Clarke, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Patrick Osborne moving into the reserves.
Pulu has been rewarded for his eye-catching cameo against the Highlanders in Dunedin last week with promotion to the starting XV.
However, the biggest surprise is the decision to drop the co-captain, Clarke, to the bench.
With Richard Kahui, Robbie Robinson and Andrew Horrell still on the injured list, Gareth Anscombe retains his spot at fullback and, likewise, the fleet-footed Tim Nanai-Williams keeps the No. 13 jersey after both impressed in Dunedin.
Flyhalf Aaron Cruden is unfazed by a niggly groin and will continue to play through the pain barrier. He picked up the problem last week, but still took a full part in the Chiefs opening win over the Highlanders in Dunedin.
Cruden said he was feeling better this week.
He said he is not sure what's aggravated it, but it's just maintaining the rehab programme and making sure he gets it right for this weekend.
Rennie said that out of all the South African sides, the Cheetahs probably play a style that is closest to the defending champions.
"They are innovative and can score tries from anywhere around the park and like all South African sides they are big and physical," the Chiefs coach said.
"We had a really free flowing match against them in Bloemfontein last year, and we are expecting them to play a style of game similar to us, which is a free flowing, high paced, ruck and run game."
Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Bundee Aki, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam (captain), 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Tameifuna, 18 Craig Clarke, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21 Charlie Ngatai, 22 Patrick Osborne.
Date: Saturday, March 2
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-Off: 19.35 (08.35 SA time; 06.35 GMT)
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.