Smith back to lead Canes

Conrad Smith will start at outside centre in one of four changes to the Hurricanes side to face the Blues on Friday.

Smith failed to feature in the comprehensive victory over the Force, but will return to partner Ma'a Nonu as coach Chris Boyd reshuffles his backline for the match against the winless Blues.

Elsewhere, TJ Perenara returns at scrumhalf, while Matt Proctor and Nehe Milner-Skudder come in at wing and fullback respectively.

There is further good news among the substitutes bench, with hooker Motu Matu'u, lock Jeremy Thrush and loose forward Blade Thomson all making their return from injury.

Hurricanes – 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Matt Proctor, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Subs: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 Chris Eves, 19 Jeremy Thrush, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Rey Lee-Lo, 23 James Marshall.

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images