Planet Rugby

Savea starts, Smith hits 100 for 'Canes

13th March 2014 03:45

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conrad smith hurricanes

Ton up: Conrad Smith

Skipper Conrad Smith will play his 100th game for the Hurricanes in Saturday's Super Rugby clash with the Cheetahs at Westpac Stadium.

The 32-year-old, in his 11th season in yellow, said 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," he said.

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

Date: Saturday, March 15
Venue: Westpac Stadium
Kick-off: 16.35 local (03.35 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)

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