Fletcher Smith cements No. 10 spot, Ardie Savea and Jordie Barrett named to start for Hurricanes

The Hurricanes have opted to start Fletcher Smith at first-five in their Super Rugby opener against the NSW Waratahs on Saturday at Broovale Oval in Manly.

The 23-year-old made his Super Rugby debut for the Highlanders in 2016 but is now plying his trade for the Wellington Super Rugby franchise.

Last year, Smith played for Waikato in the Mitre 10 Cup competition and credits the Mooloos for helping him improve his attacking game.

"They [Hurricanes] play a really exciting brand of footy and that's what I love. Up in Waikato that's what we're all about, so coming down here is a pretty easy transition to that kind of game plan," said Smith.

All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara has been named to start for the Hurricanes and he praised Smith for his poise in the number 10 jersey.

Fletcher Smith.
Waikato v Otago, Mitre 10 Cup Championship Final, FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand on the 26 October 2018. Copyright Photo: Jeremy Ward /
Fletcher Smith in action for Waikato. Source: Photosport

"He'd be one of the more skilful players I've seen in my career," said Perenara.

"His catch-pass, his ability to kick off both feet and his ability to attack the line when the opportunity presents itself has been pretty impressive to watch."

Hurricanes coach John Plumtree has opted to put returning Cane James Marshall on the bench as cover.

All Blacks openside Ardie Savea has been named to start along with Ngani Laumape at second-five, with Jordie Barrett cementing his spot in the number 15 jersey.

Hurricanes: 1 Chris Eves, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 4 James Blackwell, 5 Liam Mitchell, 6 Reed Prinsep, 7 Ardie Savea, 8 Gareth Evans, 9 TJ Perenara, 10 Fletcher Smith, 11 Ben Lam, 12 Ngani Laumape, 13 Matt Proctor, 14 Vince Aso, 15 Jordie Barrett.

Reserves: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Xavier Numia, 18 Ben May, 19 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 20 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 James Marshall, 23 Wes Goosen.

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