Conrad Smith fends Chris Noakes of the Blues during the
round two Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the
Blues. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)
Conrad Smith has given his Hurricanes team a big boost
after being named in the side to play the Reds in Brisbane on
All Blacks centre Smith, the Hurricanes captain, had been
under a cloud this week after failing a pitch-side concussion
test at Westpac Stadium during the defeat by the Blues at the
After passing a computer-based psychometric examination on
Monday, he underwent a fitness test later in the day and no
ill-effects were reported yesterday.
Smith, who suffered a bad concussion in 2010, collided with
Rene Ranger in the 70th minute of the 34-20 defeat.
The new pitch-side test has been introduced to Super Rugby
The Hurricanes leave for Brisbane today looking for
improvements after a subdued performance against the Blues on
Saturday, and Smith's leadership and defensive nous against
the likes of dangermen Quade Cooper and Digby Ioane could be
The Reds lost their opener to the Brumbies in Canberra but
responded with a victory over their closest rivals the
Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium - although, after leading 17-3 at
one point they needed a late Ben Tapuai try to break a 17-all
deadlock to win.
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has made only one change to the
starting XV, with Jeffery Toomaga-Allen coming in at
tighthead prop for Ben May. An improved performance up front
will be a particular focus for Hammett after his side
struggled to make an impact against a Blues team missing the
likes of prop Tony Woodcock, now at the Highlanders, and
hooker Keven Mealamu, who is making a late start to the
First-five Beauden Barrett and halfback TJ Perenara, two
bright young things from last season, will also be looking to
make greater impacts.
On the reserves bench, hard-hitting hooker Motu Matu'u is in
line to make his first appearance for his team this year
after suffering a pectoral injury during pre-season training.
Lock James Broadhurst will wear the No18 jersey ahead of Mark
Reddish, who has a hamstring injury.
Meanwhile, there was also good news at the Chiefs yesterday
(Tue), with hookers Hika Elliot and Mahonri Schwalger coming
into the frame for Saturday night's match against the
Cheetahs at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.
Elliot missed his team's impressive opening victory over the
Highlanders in Dunedin due to a calf injury suffered late in
the week, with Schwalger sidelined following knee surgery.
In the absence of the experienced pair, Rhys Marshall, a
20-year-old who has yet to play a senior provincial match,
made a fine fist of his Super Rugby debut.
The Cheetahs travel to Hamilton after losing their opening
match to the Sharks in Bloemfontein.
Hurricanes team to play the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in
Brisbane on Friday, kick-off 11.20pm, is: Andre Taylor,
Alapati Leiua, Conrad Smith (c), Tim Bateman, Julian Savea,
Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Brad Shields, Karl Lowe, Victor
Vito, Jason Eaton, Jeremy Thrush, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Dane
Coles, Ben Franks. Reserves: Motu Motu'u, Reggie Goodes,
James Broadhurst, Faifili Levave, Chris Smylie, James
Marshall, Reynold Lee-Lo.