Lima Sopoaga has failed to recover in time for tomorrow night's derby clash between the Hurricanes and Highlanders in Wellington.
The Highlanders first-five suffered an ankle injury during the loss to the Stormers in South Africa two weeks ago and missed last week's win over the Lions in Dunedin.
In his absence Hayden Parker gets his second start of the season in the No 10 jersey after putting in a solid performance against the Lions, with Sopoaga now hoping to be fit in time to take on the Crusaders in Dunedin next weekend.
Kane Hames returns to a front row which has been disrupted by Chris King's one week suspension.
Otago prop Aki Seiuli has been plucked from Dunedin club rugby to sit on the bench for the Highlanders.
Shane Christie also returns to the starting line up on the openside flank after being a late scratching last week because of a back strain.
Jarrad Hoeata will make his 50th Super Rugby appearance since debuting for the Chiefs against the Lions in 2010.
HIGHLANDERS: Kane Hames, Liam Coltman, Ma'afu Fia, Jarrad Hoeata, Joe Wheeler, Elliot Dixon, Shane Christie, Nasi Manu (co-captain), Aaron Smith, Hayden Parker, Jason Emery, Shaun Treeby, Malakai Fekitoa, Richard Buckman, Ben Smith (co-captain). Reserves; Ged Robinson, Matias Diaz, Aki Seuli, Tom Franklin, Gareth Evans, Fumiaki Tanaka, Trent Renata, Phil Burleigh.