In some good news for the Lions, the Crusaders have opted to rest their All Blacks front row for their match against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.
If the Crusaders lose their final regular-season match, and the Lions beat the Sharks in Durban, the Joburg-based franchise would finish top of the overall log. That would ensure a home quarter-final, semi-final and final if they progressed that far.
Advice from medical staff influenced the Crusaders' decision to rest Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Owen Franks, who started all three Tests against the British & Irish Lions.
'We have got to look after them, there are still some big games to come, obviously,' said Crusaders assistant coach Jason Ryan.
The Hurricanes have named their strongest possible side for the clash, with All Blacks TJ Perenara, Beauden Barrett and Ardie Savea returning to the starting XV.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs will rest All Blacks trio Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane and Anton Lienert-Brown for their match against the Brumbies in Canberra.
And having already booked a home quarter-final as Australian conference winners with a season record of 6-8, the Brumbies have made 12 changes to their side.
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