The Brumbies will take on the Crusaders without star David Pocock, adding more difficulty to an already tough Super Rugby assignment.
The Wallabies veteran has a calf strain and will sit out Saturday night's crunch match at GIO Stadium, as the ACT team desperately tries to recover from a 3-5 record this season.
Pocock has played four-straight games since his comeback to the Brumbies from a knee injury and his year-long sabbatical against the NSW Waratahs on March 31.
He was influential the last time they took on a New Zealand side when they played the Highlanders in Dunedin two weeks ago so his absence robs the Brumbies of a world-class flanker and a genuine leader.
The Crusaders are the defending champions and sit on top of the all-conquering New Zealand conference.
"Medically the advice was to give (Pocock) him a week off leading into the bye and have him ready to go for the (Melbourne) Rebels game," Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said.
"He certainly wasn't 100 per cent fit against the Jaguares (last week) but he still pushes through the pain and performs well."
Pocock isn't the only experienced player out, with co-captain Christian Lealiifano to miss a second straight game as the club looks to prevent him from burning out following a stint in Ireland in between Super Rugby seasons.
Tom Cusack has been switched in to replace Pocock in the No.7 jersey, while McKellar has pulled the surprising move of two-Test Wallabies lock Blake Enever in at blindside flanker.
McKellar said Enever wasn't being "thrown in the deep end" having spoken to him about a possible flanker spot after the departure of Scott Fardy last year.
"Blake's a good athlete and he comes in there with some injuries in the backrow so I'm really interested to see how he goes," McKellar said.
"It certainly strengthens our lineout (alongside Sam Carter and Rory Arnold)."
The Brumbies will be looking to avoid a 36th consecutive loss by an Australian team against a New Zealand side in the competition.
An Australian team hasn't won a Trans-Tasman match since the Waratahs defeated the Chiefs in May, 2016.
BRUMBIES: Tom Banks, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Andrew Smith, Chance Peni, Wharenui Hawera, Joe Powell, Isi Naisarani, Tom Cusack, Blake Enever, Sam Carter, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Fainga'a, Scott Sio. Res: Robbie Abel, Faalelei Sione, Ben Alexander, Darcy Swain, Lolo Fakaosilea, Matt Lucas, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Andrew Muirhead.