Steamers coach Kevin Schuler has gone for an experienced team for his crucial ITM Cup match against Waikato tonight.
Powerhouse forward Leon Power returns from injury and replaces Mike Kainga at lock. Although Kainga was strong at lineout time, a couple of missed tackles lead to tries in the Steamers' 47-13 loss to Counties last Friday.
The 2m-tall, 116kg lock's lineout skills have been key to the Steamers' success in previous seasons, but it's his scrummaging power and rock solid defence which will be a major factor if they are to overcome a powerful Waikato pack.
Another of Power's teammates returning to the fold is nippy halfback Josh Hall, who takes over from Lewis Hancock. Hancock's passing game was below par against Counties and Schuler will be looking to Hall to clear the ball a lot quicker against Waikato to give first-five Nick McCashin more time to work his magic.
Outside back Lance McDonald gets his chance to shine, after making a number of cameos off the bench. McDonald grabs the left wing spot from Jack Wilson, who has failed to show the quality he displayed at the beginning of the season.
Interestingly, the Steamers' outside men haven't had much of a chance to shine yet, with the team opting to crash it up the middle through the midfield pairing of Phil Burleigh and Mafi Kefu.
Burleigh and Kefu have shown they have strength taking the ball up but will need to display their ability to set the likes of Lelia Masaga and McDonald free on their outside.
Schuler has resisted making wholesale changes to the team who capitulated against Counties. The Steamers take on a wounded Waikato side who succumbed to Auckland at Eden Park at the weekend 32-22.
Waikato will be disappointed with the loss after a tight tussle, as they let it slip away thanks to an electrifying three-minute bust in the second half, where Auckland scored two quick tries.
The positive for the Waikato side was the performance of their scrum, which threatened to overwhelm Auckland.
Schuler will be well aware of Waikato's scrum power and will expect a huge effort from his boys tonight at Waikato Stadium.
Waikato have made six changes to their starting line up from their Auckland match.
There are two changes in the pack, including a forced captaincy change.
Alex Bradley, Romana Graham and Jackson Willisom have been replaced by Rory Grice, Sam Kilgour and Save Tokula.
Marcel Cummings-Toone will captain the side in the absence of the injured Bradley. Elsewhere, Joe Webber is on the left wing, Tawera Kerr-Barlow starts ahead of Brendon Leonard at halfback and Sam Christie gets the nod at second-five.
Kickoff is at 7.35pm tonight.
Steamers squad: Tristan Moran, Dan Perrin, Josh Hohneck, Culumn Retallick, Leon Power, Tanerau Latimer (c), Luke Braid, Carl Axtens, Josh Hall, Nick McCashin, Lance McDonald, Mafi Kefu, Phil Burleigh, Lelia Masaga, Kenny Lynn. Reserves; John Pareanga/Nathan Harris, Mike Kainga, Dan Goodwin, Jesse Acton, Lewis Hancock, Simon Rolleston, Jack Wilson.
Waikato squad: Toby Smith, Marcel Cummings-Toone (captain), Ben May, Chris Middleton, Sam Kilgour, Matt Vant Leven, Zak Hohneck, Rory Grice, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Piers Francis, Joe Webber, Sam Christie, Save Tokula, Declan O'Donnell, Trent Renata. Reserves; Vance Elliot, Ted Tauroa, Anthony Wise, Jono Armstrong, Brendon Leonard, Joe Perawiti, Tim Mikkelson.