All Black forwards Rodney So’oialo and Neemia Tialata return to bolster Wellington’s starting lineup 15 or their Air New Zealand Cup home rugby semifinal against Southland on Friday night.
So’oialo began the Lions’ 50-30 quarterfinal win over Taranaki on the bench, while Tialata was sidelined with sore knees.
Their inclusion means Wellington will field seven past or present All Blacks in their run-on side.
In a rejigged loose forward trio, So’oialo starts at openside flank for the injured Scott Fuglistaller, Masoe comes in at No 6 and Thomas Waldrom starts at No 8.
In the backs, Ma’a Nonu has been shifted to the wing after a rusty performance at second five-eighth in his return to the starting 15 last weekend.
Tane Tu’ipulotu comes in to take over the No 12 jersey.
All Black centre Conrad Smith will make his late-season return via the bench.
Southland have made one change to the 22 that beat Bay of Plenty 45-11 in Mt Maunganui.
Kendrick Lynn is back from a sternum injury and will start at centre in place of Matt Saunders, who moves to the wing, while Mark Wells drops to the bench.
Wellington: Cory Jane, Ma’a Nonu, Tamati Ellison, Tane Tu’ipulotu, Hosea Gear, Piri Weepu (captain), Alby Mathewson, Thomas Waldrom, Rodney So’oialo, Chris Masoe, Jeremy Thrush, Ross Filipo, John Schwalger, Dane Coles, Neemia Tialata.
Reserves – Ged Robinson, Jacob Ellison, Tim Fairbrother, Api Naikatini, Serge Lilo, Daniel Kirkpatrick, Conrad Smith.
Southland: Robbie Robinson, Matt Saunders, Kendrick Lynn, Jason Kawau, Pehi Te Whare, Blair Stewart, Jimmy Cowan, David Hall, Tim Boys, Dion Bates, Hoani Macdonald, Josh Bekhuis, Chris King, Jason Rutledge, Jamie Mackintosh (captain).
Reserves: Matt Holloway, Fai Mika, Daniel Ramsay, John Hardie, Scott Cowan, Mark Wells, Willie Rickards.