Sydney - Japan fullback Ayumu Goromaru has been given a rare start for the Reds for their Super Rugby clash with the Hurricanes after Karmichael Hunt suffered a groin injury and was ruled out of the match in New Zealand's capital.
Goromaru was considered a signing coup for the Brisbane-based side after his World Cup performances last year in England ignited unprecedented interest in rugby in his homeland.
But the 30-year-old has struggled to cement his place, with Hunt mostly preferred at fullback as the Reds lurch through a season of just two victories to date.
Goromaru has not started a match since Matt O'Connor and Nick Stiles succeeded Richard Graham as interim co-coaches after the second week of the season.
He was dropped from the match day squad for last week's 38-5 loss to the Crusaders and has played a total of 176 minutes in six appearances, according to statistics from governing body SANZAAR.
"Being able to bring a guy of Ayumu Goromaru's experience straight into the starting side is a big benefit for us," Stiles said in a statement.
"This is a good opportunity for him to step up and demonstrate what we know he is capable of."
Stiles added that Goromaru had been disappointed at missing last week's match against the Crusaders, but the clash with the Hurricanes would be a challenge he was raring to get up for.
"It would have been easier for him to stay in Japan and play for the Sunwolves," Stiles added.
"But he put himself under a lot of pressure coming here and not being familiar with the language or the players.
"But now he has another opportunity, this time with better knowledge and communication with the players, and its up to him to grab it."
Saturday's match at the Wellington Regional Stadium will also be lock Rob Simmons' 100th Super Rugby game.
He becomes the sixth player to reach the milestone while playing only for the Reds.
"The team recognises the significance of this match, both in testing ourselves against one of the competition leaders and in putting up a performance worthy of Rob Simmons' 100th cap for Reds," Stiles added of the 27-year-old's achievement.
"It's a fantastic achievement for Rob and he joins an elite group of centurions who have represented this state.
"It's a just reward for his dedication and professionalism over a number of years."
15 James Marshall, 14 Jason Woodward, 13 Matt Proctor, 12
Vince Aso, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7
Callum Gibbins, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeffery
Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Reg Goodes
Substitutes: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Loni Uhila, 18 Ben May, 19
Mark Abbott, 20 Tony Lamborn, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Ngani Laumape, 23
15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Campbell
Magnay, 12 Anthony Fainga’a, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8
Curtis Browning, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ben Matwijow, 3
Greg Holmes, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 James Slipper (captain)
Substitutes: 16 Matt Mafi, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Sam Talakai,
19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Michael Gunn, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23