The Highlanders will start all but one of their All Blacks in the opening match of the season against the Chiefs at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Friday night.
Otago fullback Michael Collins will make his Super Rugby debut tomorrow night when the Blues take on the Rebels.
The men across the Tasman are as ever talking up their chances. Rugby writer Steve Hepburn takes a look at the five Super Rugby sides from Australia.
Former All Black and Highlanders lock Tom Donnelly is the new assistant coach of the Otago Mitre 10 Cup side.
The Otago Rugby Supporters Club will continue but it is stuck deep inside its own territory and struggling to get out.
The Blues will leave for Melbourne and their Super Rugby season-opener against the Rebels buoyed by a sense of expectation.
Highlanders assistant coach Scott McLeod says this pre-season has been different from others but he is confident the side is fit and ready to go for Friday night's opener.
He has been given the chance so he is going to take it with both hands.
The foreign challenge from across the oceans in Super rugby last year, apart from the Lions, packed all the power of a hit from an arthritic pensioner. Rugby writer Steve Hepburn expects there will be little different this year from the African teams.
Chiefs assistant coach Kieran Keane is the latest New Zealand mind to head overseas.
Former All Black Sione Lauaki has been farewelled by hundreds of family, friends, fans and rugby dignitaries in Auckland.
Dan Carter is back in the country after being caught by French police drink-driving in Paris this week.
Highlanders coach Tony Brown says the team’s win over the Waratahs on Thursday was an ideal pre-season hit-out for his side but it could have done without the injury to No 8 Luke Whitelock.
Otago loose forward Lee Allan has hung up his boots, deciding to give the game away due to concussion.
Former All Black Dan Carter has apologised for drink-driving, saying he made a "massive error of judgment".
There are still tickets left for the match between the British and Irish Lions and the Highlanders but up the road they have all gone.
With the two Smiths locked in, along with Lima Sopoaga and Elliot Dixon, attention now switches to securing the likes of Malakai Fekitoa and Waisake Naholo for the Highlanders.
The attack went well — now it appears the defence coaches need to earn their keep.
The Highlanders are unlikely to use all of their All Blacks for the opening game of the Super rugby season.
The Highlanders have rolled out their stable of All Blacks for the Super Rugby trial against the Waratahs in Sydney tomorrow.