The Highlanders have made three changes, including dropping captain Andrew Hore to the bench, to their starting side for the match against the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium tomorrow night.
Hore makes way for youngster Liam Coltman at hooker, meaning lock Brad Thorn takes over the captaincy.
With Jarrad Hoeata suspended, the impressive TJ Ioane gets a start on the blindside flank, back where his rugby career started in Wellington. All Black halfback Aaron Smith starts again in the No 9 jersey with Fumiaki Tanaka moving to the reserves.
Ma'a Nonu is suspended for three weeks after receiving a red card last week, and is replaced by Buxton Popoali'i in the reserves.
The Highlanders are bottom of the table but know if they win tomorrow they could leapfrog the Kings, who sit just two points above them.
Highlanders team to play the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, tomorrow (7.35pm): Ben Smith, Kade Poki, Shaun Treeby, Tamati Ellison, Hosea Gear, Colin Slade, Aaron Smith, Mose Tuiali'i, Elliot Dixon, Josh Bekhuis, Brad Thorn (c), T J Ioane, Ma'afu Fia, Liam Coltman, Tony Woodcock.
Reserves: Andrew Hore, Bronson Murray, Jake Paringatai, Joe Wheeler, Fumiaki Tanaka, Hayden Parker, Buxton Popoali'i.