The Chiefs have handed 20-year-old Damian McKenzie the No10 jersey ahead of Saturday's season-defining clash with the Hurricanes in Wellington.
Having previously experimented with Marty McKenzie and Andrew Horrell at first five in the weeks since Aaron Cruden was ruled out for the season, coach Dave Rennie has placed his faith in the rookie.
It will be McKenzie's second start of the season at pivot, after filling in for a rested Cruden in the season-opening win over the Blues, and the stakes could hardly be higher.
The Chiefs need to win in Wellington if they wish to avoid an insurmountable deficit at the top of the New Zealand conference standings. Rennie's men currently trail the Hurricanes by 10 points and the race for top spot will be all but over if the home side earn victory on Saturday night.
"The Hurricanes are the form team of the competition," Rennie said. "They are a team full of experienced players and have combinations that have played together for a number of seasons. They have been consistent and played some great footy.
"A win to the Hurricanes will probably see them seal the conference and if we win, we will pull them back towards the pack, so it is a big day for both sides."
It will also be a big day for McKenzie. One of the stand-outs of New Zealand's Under-20 World Championship team last year, McKenzie's performances in his maiden Super Rugby season have seen him touted as a future All Black.
Those performances have come largely at fullback, with Cruden having ownership the No10 jersey before suffering a knee injury, but the Waikato man will now have a chance to lock down his preferred position for the remainder of the season.
It's a chance that elder brother Marty and Horrell both failed to grasp, turning in solid but unspectacular stints in a win over the Force and a loss to the Rebels, respectively.
That pair's efforts meant it was little surprise to see the Chiefs turn to McKenzie in what will be a battle of the back-ups against Hurricanes cutter James Marshall.
Marshall's brother Tom will take his customary place at fullback for the Chiefs, part of a back three featuring the other talking point of Rennie's run-on XV.
Hosea Gear was seen as an important off-season acquisition for the Chiefs but the former All Black has been unsighted since an appearance off the bench against the Sharks in March, with a combination of form and fitness restricting him to 164 minutes this season.
But the 31-year-old has been named on the right wing to play the Hurricanes, given the unenviable task of matching up against Julian Savea. The rest of the backline is at full strength, with Sonny Bill Williams and Charlie Ngatai set to square off against Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith in a mouth-watering midfield battle.
The main feature of the forward pack is the absence through concussion of Matt Symons which, with Brodie Retallick still on the sidelines with a shoulder injury, leaves the Chiefs shorn of their two best locks.
Michael Allardice will get his first start of the season alongside Michael Fitzgerald, while the rest of the pack is unchanged from the one-point defeat against the Rebels a fortnight ago.
Chiefs team to play Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium on Saturday night:
Tom Marshall, Hosea Gear, Charlie Ngatai, Sonny Bill Williams, James Lowe, Damian McKenzie, Brad Weber, Michael Leitch, Sam Cane, Liam Messam (c), Michael Fitzgerald, Michael Allardice, Ben Tameifuna, Hika Elliot, Pauliasi Manu.
Reserves: Quentin MacDonald, Siate Tokolahi, Mitchell Graham, Liam Squire, Maama Vaipulu, Augustine Pulu, Andrew Horrell, Bryce Heem.