The Canterbury and All Blacks hooker Corey Flynn's wretched injury run continues, with calf injury ruling him out of his side's Ranfurly Shield Challenge against Southland in Invercargill on Saturday.
Flynn suffered the injury during training and has been replaced by Steve Fualau.
Meanwhile the All Blacks flanker Jerome Kaino will make his first appearance for Auckland this season, having been named in starting lineup for Saturday's match against Counties-Manukau.
Originally considered off-limits to Auckland ahead of the All Blacks end of year tour, coach Mark Anscombe says having Kaino back is a boost to their semi-finals hopes.
Also back is former All Black Isaia Toeava, who's returning from hip surgery.
All Black winger Joe Rokocoko is also back in the starting line-up after coming off the bench last game.
Missing is All Black front rower John Afoa, who's opted to play for the Auckland B side to work on his hooking skills, particularly his lineout throwing.
Afoa, who's usually a prop, is viewed as possible hooking cover in the All Blacks and Anscombe says when Afoa returned from the Tri-Nations campaign the plan was to give him time at hooker in the quarter of an hour in games.
He says that didn't eventuate against Southland and Hawke's Bay and so they've decided to give him a full game for the development side this week.