Rugby: Smith and Coles return for Hurricanes

Conrad Smith. Photo / Getty Images.
Conrad Smith. Photo / Getty Images.

Captain Conrad Smith and hooker Dane Coles will return for the Hurricanes for a crucial clash against the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday night.

The two have recovered from their respective injuries to join the starting line-up as the Hurricanes take on Australian Conference leaders in a must-win encounter.

Smith was knocked out in the Hurricanes' round 12 48-14 mauling at the hands of the Bulls in Pretoria and missed the last two games. Coles returns following a fractured eye socket.

Joining Smith and Coles in the starting line-up are James Broadhurst and Brad Shields. Reynold Lee-Lo moves in one spot to second five-eighth to make way for Smith at centre. Ash Dixon will be on the bench as the back-up hooker. Mark Reddish comes into the reserves and will be alongside Faifili Levave who swaps places with Shields this week.

"Both Dane and Conrad have recovered well and are looking forward to getting back onto the field for this match," said Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett.

"There were some tough calls this week, but Rey has worked hard in the past few weeks, stepping up in Conrad's absence so he gets another opportunity in the midfield.

"We also get an opportunity to give James a start with Jeremy in the locking combination. Jason has played a lot of minutes this year and Broady has had some solid performances off the bench."

Despite taking a knock to his knee in training, as long as Jack Lam gets through tomorrow's session, then he will be fit to take his place in the starting line-up for Friday.

The Hurricanes sit four points outside the playoff spots and play the New Zealand Conference leading Chiefs, bottom placed Highlanders and the sixth placed Crusaders in their three matches following the international break.

Hurricanes
1. Ben Franks , 2. Dane Coles, 3. Ben May, 4. Jeremy Thrush, 5. James Broadhurst, 6. Brad Shields, 7. Jack Lam, 8. Victor Vito , 9. TJ Perenara, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. Julian Savea, 12. Reynold Lee-Lo, 13. Conrad Smith, 14. Alapati Leiua, 15. Andre Taylor. Reserves: 16. Ash Dixon, 17. Reggie Goodes, 18. Mark Reddish, 19. Faifili Levave, 20. Chris Smylie, 21. Tusi Pisi, 22. James Marshall

- APNZ

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