Dane Coles, Jeremy Thrush and TJ Perenara have been released by the All Blacks to play for Wellington in their opening ITM Cup match against Counties Manukau tomorrow night.
The trio were part of the All Blacks camp preparing for the Rugby Championship, which starts on Saturday night when Australian host New Zealand in Sydney.
Coles will pack down in a strong Wellington front row. John Schwalger will make his first start for the Lions since returning to New Zealand and Jeffery Toomaga-Allen has recovered from his knee injury suffered during the Super Rugby season.
Wellington team to play Counties Manukau at ECO Light Stadium, Pukekohe, on Thursday (7.35pm): Matt Proctor, Joe Hill, Tim Bateman, Shaun Treeby, Sinoti Sinoti, Lima Sopoaga, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito, Adam Hill, Brad Shields, Mark Reddish, Jeremy Thrush (c), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane Coles, John Schwalger. Reserves: Eugene Smith, Tolu Fahamokioa, Taniela Koroi, Kaipati Gaualofa, Faifili Levave, Frae Wilson, Afa Fa'atau.