Hurricanes forwards Dane Coles and Blade Thomson will return from their respective injuries via the bench when they play the Crusaders at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday night.
Coles has been troubled by an elbow complaint and wasn't expected to be right until next weekend but the All Black hooker has made swift progress recently, which has pushed him along. He last played in round five against the Blues in March.
"His recovery's been really good and he's been training pretty much full on with us for the last couple of weeks," Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said. "So those in the medical fraternity have deemed that he's right to come on to the bench."
Thomson has been limited due to lingering concussion symptoms and hasn't played since the round six victory over the Highlanders but will provide lock/loose forward cover this weekend.
"Blade's a quality footballer. We've been pretty cautious, as most people are around concussion at the moment, and he's probably taken a week, or maybe even two, longer to come back but he's raring to go and he'll offer good impact off the bench," Boyd said.
Elsewhere, fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder (calf) returns to the starting XV, while right wing Cory Jane will pull on the No 14 jersey, swapping with Matt Proctor who played in last week's 35-19 win over the Reds.
Boyd hasn't rested any of his All Blacks as his table-topping side look to secure their spot in the playoffs.
They've started the season with eight wins from nine games and look on track for the knockout stages of the competition but their final seven matches include six New Zealand derbies.
The Crusaders will be without flanker Richie McCaw who was knocked out during last week's win over the Blues. Two-test All Black Matt Todd will wear the No 7 jersey in McCaw's absence as part of a powerful loose forward trio.
"I have a high regard for Todd and obviously Jordan Taufua's playing really well for them and Kieran Read, going without saying, is a quality loose forward as well," Boyd said. "So Richie's probably our best-ever All Black and on that basis you'd say he'd be missed but I think the other guys that are there are all highly-competent footballers. So I think it'll be business as usual for them."
The strong form of the Hurricanes has seen them installed as $1.57 favourites with the bookies, while the Crusaders are at $2.30.
Hurricanes: Nehe Milner-Skudder, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith (c), Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Brad Shields, Ardie Savea, Callum Gibbins, James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush, Ben Franks, Motu Matu'u, Reggie Goodes. Reserves: Dane Coles, Chris Eves, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Mark Abbott, Blade Thomson, Chris Smylie, Matt Proctor, James Marshall