The Highlanders have endured a tough 2008 season but avoided the wooden spoon with last weekend's 31-28 win against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein - only their second win of the campaign.
The seventh-placed Blues however, are still in with a slim chance of making the semi-finals provided they win on Saturday night, beat the Hurricanes next weekend and have other results go their way.
But they have a poor record at Carisbrook having lost four of their past five visits to Dunedin, including a 25-13 defeat in 2006.
In their favour however, is the fact the Highlanders have travelled back from South Africa.
Highlanders coach Glenn Moore has turned to his number one halfback Jimmy Cowan for the match which will see the two teams battle it out for the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy.
Hunter coached both franchises and the trophy was introduced in 2002 to be contested by the two sides annually. The Blues hold it after winning 28-9 in Auckland last year.
Moore has also opted for Alando Soakai at openside flanker instead of Tim Boys, while injury has forced out wing Matt Saunders (leg) and Brett Mather (head knock). They are replaced by Glen Horton and Aaron Bancroft respectively.
The Blues arrive in Dunedin on the back of a somewhat scratchy win against the Queensland Reds last week. Coach David Nucifora has decided to continue with Isa Nacewa at fly-half and Nick Evans at full-back despite coming in for criticism.
But he has dropped inside centre Isaia Toeava and brought in Benson Stanley, much to many people's surprise.
Highlanders: Paul Williams; Glen Horton, Aaron Bancroft, Johnny Leota, Fetu'u Vainikolo; Mike Delany, Jimmy Cowan; Jamie Mackintosh, Jason MacDonald, Clint Newland, Hoani MacDonald, Tom Donnelly, Adam Thomson, Craig Newby.
Reserves: David Hall, Chris King, Isaac Ross, Steven Setephano, Toby Morland, Daniel Bowden, Niva Ta'auso.
Blues: Nick Evans; David Smith, Anthony Tuitavake, Benson Stanley, Rudi Wulf; Isa Nacewa, Taniela Moa; Tony Woodcock/Nick White, Keven Mealamu, John Afoa, Anthony Boric, Troy Flavell/Kurtis Haiu, Jerome Kaino, Daniel Braid, Nick Williams.
Reserves: White/Tom McCartney, Bronson Murray, Haiu/Bryn Evans, Justin Collins, Danny Lee, Isaia Toeava, Ben Atiga.