Smith to win 100th Hurricanes cap vs Cheetahs

The Hurricanes have named their team to play the Cheetahs this weekend with Conrad Smith winning his 100th Hurricanes Super Rugby cap after 11 seasons.

Thirty-two-year-old Smith says the milestone was one he never dreamed of reaching.

“When I played that first game in 2004, very few would have guessed I’d reach this point. It’s such an honour and I treasure every opportunity I get to wear the swirl and represent the team I love.”

Smith will lead a line-up featuring a number of changes from the side which faced the Brumbies last weekend, including Faifili Levave and Hadleigh Parkes, who return from injury.

Ardie Savea has also been given the nod at openside flanker, while Jeffery Toomaga-Allen makes a return to the starting line-up.

“Jack Lam has had three very physical encounters, so we’re looking to take him out of the early battle exchanges this week. It’s good that we can do that, and give someone like Ardie a start as well,” said coach, Mark Hammett.

“The thinking is similar between John and Jeff. There’s not much that separates those two, and John also provides cover for both tighthead and loosehead, which we’ll look to utilise throughout the season.”

Chris Smylie gets his first start for the season at halfback ahead of TJ Perenara. Hammett said bringing Perenara off the bench would give him the opportunity to work on a few technical components of his game that had been reviewed during the week.

Alapati Leiua will occupy the right wing, with Cory Jane unavailable this week due to a broken nose, while Matt Proctor has also returned from injury and will provide cover off the bench.

Hurricanes

1. Ben Franks,2. Dane Coles,3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen,4. Jeremy Thrush,5. Mark Reddish,6. Faifili Levave,7. Ardie Savea,8. Blade Thomson,9. Chris Smylie,10. Beauden Barrett,11. Julian Savea,12. Hadleigh Parkes,13. Conrad Smith (c),14. Alapati Leiua,15. James Marshall

Replacements :16. Motu Matu’u,17. Chris Eves,18. John Schwalger,19. James Broadhurst,20. Jack Lam,21. TJ Perenara,22. Matt Proctor,23. Marty Banks

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