All Blacks fullback Ben Smith could make his long awaited Highlanders comeback against the Crusaders, with the two sides to play out an all-Kiwi Super Rugby quarterfinal in Christchurch on Friday night.
Having trained last week to face the Waratahs in Invercargill, Smith was left out of the Highlanders' final round robin game as a precaution - the fullback's hamstring causing concern.
Smith hasn't played for the Highlanders since May 4.
The Highlanders won't hold anything back against the Crusaders on Friday, assistant coach Mark Hammett says.
"Bender's better than he was last week and he was very close last week so we're hoping he'll be available," Hammett told media.
The Highlanders will name their side to face the Crusaders tomorrow.