Richie McCaw will start in the No 6 jersey for the Crusaders against the Brumbies in Christchurch on Saturday.
The talismanic All Blacks skipper has been out for two months since fracturing his thumb against the Blues, and was expected to play off the bench.
However, Kieran Read has failed to recover from a concussion in time and McCaw will prove a more than able deputy in his absence.
The most capped captain in All Blacks history won't lead the team, though, with that honour going to inside centre Ryan Crotty.
Luke Whitelock will start at No 8 in Read's absence, with Jordan Taufua making way for McCaw's inclusion.
The Brumbies have named an unchanged team for the match.
Crusaders – 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ryan Crotty (c), 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Subs: 16 Corey Flynn, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.
Brumbies – 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Jordan Smiler, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Ruaidhri Murphy, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Tom McVerry, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Pat McCabe.
Photo: Sandra Mu/Getty Images