Carlos Spencer will make his farewell appearance in New Zealand from the bench after being named in the New Zealand Maori reserves for their match against the British & Irish Lions on Saturday.
David Hill, who started in the Maori’s 29-27 win over Fiji in Suva, retains the number 10 jersey.
Spencer missed that game because of commitments in London where he played for the Barbarians against England and then for the Jonah Lomu XV in Martin Johnson’s testimonial match at Twickenham.
But openside flanker Marty Holah, playing only his second game for the Maori team, believes the sentiment surrounding Spencer’s departure to Northampton Saints and the likelihood that coach Matt Te Pou will step down after Saturday’s match, after a decade in charge, will play no part in the pre-match build-up.
"Matt probably summed it up pretty well," Holah said.
"It’s more about the team than what certain individuals are up to.
"We will take a team approach and focus pre-game about the way we are going to play the game on the field and then recognise a few achievements after the game."
However, he added that there was no doubt that Spencer will be missed.
"He’s been a pretty huge servant to the game especially up in Auckland.
"He’s been around the New Zealand rugby scene for a long time and I think it will be a pretty fitting way for him to finish his term here in the Maori jersey. It’s pretty awesome for him.
"The way he plays on the field, he always seems to be enjoying himself, and his have-a-go attitude will probably be what we will miss [most about him]."
The Maori starting line-up – the strongest in recent years – contains five changes to the team that faced Fiji.
Crusaders quartet Leon MacDonald, Caleb Ralph, Rico Gear and Corey Flynn have all been added and lock Sean Hohneck is back after missing the previous game because of an infected elbow.
Skipper Jono Gibbes has also recovered sufficiently from a foot injury to start at blindside flank, while Bay of Plenty captain Wayne Ormond will be on the bench following his efforts against the Lions last weekend.
Having seen footage of the Argentina and Bay of Plenty matches and spoken to Ormond about his first-hand knowledge of the Lions play, Holah reckons the tourists have not done anything too out of the ordinary so far.
"He [Ormond] spoke a little bit about where he felt the Bay made inroads and that sort of stuff and we’ve certainly listened to what he has had to say," Holah added.
"I don’t think the Lions brought out anything that was unexpected. They played pretty much the style of rugby that was expected from them."
New Zealand Maori team to face the Lions: Leon MacDonald; Rico Gear, Rua Tipoki, Luke McAlister, Caleb Ralph; David Hill, Piri Weepu; Deacon Manu, Corey Flynn, Carl Hayman, Ross Filipo, Sean Hohneck, Jono Gibbes (captain), Marty Holah, Angus MacDonald.
Reserves: Scott Linklater, Greg Feek, Daniel Braid, Wayne Ormond, Craig McGrath, Carlos Spencer, Neil Brew.