It was the news no Hurricanes fan wanted to hear. That one piece of information that made last week's loss to the woefully out-of-form Brumbies a more bitter pill to swallow.
Today, Sportal broke the news that Conrad Smith's head clash in Canberra that saw him substituted for Charlie Ngatai had, in fact, fractured his nose and requires stitches to his forehead.
Meanwhile, Aaron Cruden was substituted at halftime due to an Achilles strain. As a result, both will miss the Hurricanes' tour of South Africa which will see them take on the struggling Cheetahs and the in-form Sharks, who will have been boosted by the return of star fullback Patrick Lambie by that stage.
This comes as another headache for coach Mark Hammett, who will already miss All Blacks Cory Jane, due to the birth of his third child, and Piri Weepu, who remains sidelined after fracturing his ankle in last year's ITM Cup.
As a result, Taranaki midfielder Jayden Hayward will be brought back into the lineup, and Hammett can also call on the services of another talented young first five in Beauden Barrett, who has been part of the Hurricanes' wider training group this season.
Barrett will most likely be named as replacement first five, though Daniel Kirkpatrick will need to dramatically improve his form after kicking 2/6 against the Bulls on April 2. Meanwhile, it seems that Hayward and Ngatai will be competing for the place of outside midfielder.
At any rate, only time will tell as to whether they can step up and fill the boots of the absent All Blacks.
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