Auckland will continue to take a cautious approach with former All Blacks flanker Daniel Braid and will look to give him around 40 minutes in Friday's match against Counties Manukau at Eden Park as he closes in on 100 games for the province.
Braid will start from the bench again as he recovers from a troubling groin injury.
"We'll be looking at getting him on the field at about the 40 minute mark so that's the plan for this week and we're just taking it very cautiously, listening to the medical staff as we'd hate for that groin injury to flare up again," coach Wayne Pivac said.
"He's on 95 games and has calculated that if he plays every game for the remainder of the season he'll get to 100 so that's obviously what he's keen to do and we're keen, where we can, to manage him through that process."
Pivac has made just one change to the side who beat Wellington 43-30 in their last outing. Ofa Tu'ungafasi will start at tighthead prop as Angus Ta'avao shifts to loosehead and Pauliasi Manu moves to the bench.
Sean Brookman has recovered from injury to be named on the pine in place of Nathan Hughes, while halfback Scott Patterson is included in the squad for the first time as Auvasa Faleali'i drops out of the 22 altogether.
Auckland sit on top of the Premiership with five wins in their seven games and Counties Manukau top the Championship after five wins from six.
Auckland team to face Counties Manukau at Eden Park on Friday night (7.35pm): Charles Piutau, Ben Lam, Malakai Fekitoa, Hadleigh Parkes, Dave Thomas, Gareth Anscombe, Alby Mathewson, Joe Edwards, Sean Polwart, Steven Luatua, Andrew Van der Heijden, Liaki Moli, Ofa Tu'ungafasi, Tom McCartney, Angus Ta'avao. Reserves: Nathan Vella, Pauliasi Manu, Sean Brookman, Daniel Braid, Scott Patterson, Simon Hickey, Lolagi Visinia.