The Hurricanes lock Jeremy Thrush has been ruled out of the side's Super Rugby opener against the Lions with a calf injury.
The club says Thrush has been flown back to Wellington and could be out for up to six weeks.
Meanwhile, promising young fullback Jason Woodward, who grew up in the capital, will get his first start for the Hurricanes since moving from the Melbourne Rebels last year.
The 24-year-old says he can't wait to run out on Saturday morning.
"I'm really excited particularly about running out in the Hurricanes jersey this weekend. You know I've grown up my whole life dreaming of playing for this team and to finally get the chance to do it you know I'm really excited and my family's really excited for me so it will be a big day."
Meanwhile the Crusaders open the Super Rugby season at home to the Rebels on Friday evening.