The All Blacks first five Dan Carter may well have played his last game in New Zealand before taking up his six-month contract with French club Perpignan.
He's been given time off until the end of the year tour of of Britain and Ireland in November and will only play for Canterbury in the provincial competition in the event of injuries to other players.
Locks Ali Williams and Brad Thorn will also be rested until the tour.
A number of All Blacks will be available for their provinces this weekend with Wellington's Ranfurly Shield challenge against Auckland this weekend receiving a timely boost with halfback Piri Weepu and prop Neemia Tialata returning.
A further 11 players will be released for the final round robin match while Richie McCaw, Mils Muliaina, Ma'a Nonu, Conrad Smith and Rodney So'oialo will be available from the quarter-finals stage.
The All Blacks squad for the end of year tour, which includes a test against Australia in Hong Kong en route to Britain, will be named on October 26th , the day after the provincial final.