All Blacks' first five-eighths Aaron Cruden will play his first match since injuring his knee in last year's World Cup final when he plays for the Chiefs against the Melbourne Rebels in Geelong on Friday night.

Fellow new signing Sonny Bill Williams will miss the game, as he prepares for his heavyweight boxing bout with Clarence Tillman in Hamilton on February 8.

Chiefs' squad to play the Rebels: Alex Bradley, Phillip Burleigh, Shane Cleaver, Aaron Cruden, Marcel Cumming-Toone, Hika Elliot, Mike Fitzgerald, Josh Hohneck, Andrew Horrell, Richard Kahui, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Tanerau Latimer, Fritz Lee, Brendon Leonard, Lelia Masaga, Liam Messam, Tim Nanai-Williams, Martino Nemani, Augustine Pulu, Ronald Raaymakers, Brodie Retallick, Robbie Robinson, Toby Smith, Ben Tameifuna, Sona Taumalolo, Kane Thompson, Asaeli Tikoirotuma, Scott Waldrom, Jackson Willison.