Hurricanes could lose Smith for game against Qld Reds
THE Hurricanes are facing a couple of major headaches as they prepare to fly across the Tasman to tackle the Queensland Reds in round three of the Super Rugby competition in Brisbane on Friday night.
Conrad Smith, the Hurricanes' captain may be grounded and not be able to board tomorrow's flight out of Wellington after suffering concussion during Saturday night's 34-20 loss to the Blues at Westpac Stadium.
Smith was taken from the field after colliding with Rene Ranger in the 70th minute, and didn't return.
That's because the 31-year-old All Blacks centre failed the Pitch Side Concussion Assessment introduced to Super Rugby this season.
Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett said Smith had passed a psychometric test yesterday, but more tests would follow and if he remained symptom free after that (no headaches) then he should be cleared for take off.
However, if Smith is ruled out, Alapati Leiua could shift from the wing to centre. Rey Lee-Lo, who came on for Smith on Saturday night, is another option.
Adding to the difficulties for the Hurricanes is the late kick-off at Suncorp Stadium - 8.20pm local time or 11.20pm in New Zealand.
But adjusting to the time difference is not the only problem they have to get right.
The Hurricanes coughed up plenty of ball in what was their season-opener and fly half Tim Bateman said that had to fixed to avoid another loss against the Reds.
"We know we can catch. We know we can pass. We know we are good players. We've just got to make sure that we come mentally prepared for the game," he said.
"We're a team that plays well when we're playing with the ball."