Smith, who has started at fullback all season, replaces Waisake Naholo in the number 14 jersey, with his fellow All Black being rested.
Smith is replaced at fullback by utility Fletcher Smith.
Tyrel Lomax will start at tighthead prop with regular tighthead, Siate Tokolahi, having been ruled out for six weeks with a knee injury.
Aaron Smith returns to the starting lineup.
Liam Coltman replaces Ash Dixon at hooker and Elliott Dixon starts on the blindside.
There will also be a six forward, two back split with loose forward James Lentjes returning for the first time this season and midfield back Patelesio Tomkinson making his way on to the bench.
Coach Aaron Mauger is comfortable with the team's work this week "the guys have travelled well and we have had a good training week in preparation to face the challenges the Bulls will present, both teams will be looking to keep the momentum of their season going."
The Highlanders are fourth in the New Zealand conference and the Bulls second in the South African Conference, althopugh overall the Highlanders are sixth and the John Mitchell coached Bulls are eighth.