Super Rugby 2020: Fletcher Smith wins race for Hurricanes first-five spot

Fletcher Smith in action for Waikato
Fletcher Smith in action for Waikato Photo credit: Photosport

Waikato playmaker Fletcher Smith has won the race to fill the giant boots that Beauden Barrett has left at the Hurricanes.

Smith will wear the No.10 jersey for the opening round of Super Rugby, when the Hurricanes clash with the Stormers in Cape Town on Sunday morning (NZ time).

Fellow first-five Jackson Garden-Bachop will start from the bench.

TJ Perenara will skipper the side in the No.9 jersey, with a talent-rich backline that includes fellow All Blacks Jordie Barrett (fullback) and Ngani Laumape (second-five). Ben Lam and Wes Goosen complete the back three, with Billy Procter starting at centre.

In the pack, Dane Coles is on All Blacks minutes restriction, so he has been rested, gifting a start for Ricky Riccitelli at hooker, with the highly-touted Tyrell Lomax propping the scrum, alongside Fraser Armstrong. 

With Ardie Savea injured, Gareth Evans starts at No.8, joining Du'Plessis Kirifi and Reed Prinsep in the loose forwards. James Blackwell and Scott Scrafton will lock the scrum. 

Hurricanes: 1-Fraser Armstrong, 2-Ricky Riccitelli, 3-Tyrel Lomax, 4-James Blackwell, 5-Scott Scrafton, 6-Reed Prinsep, 7-Du'Plessis Kirifi, 8-Gareth Evans, 9-TJ Perenara (c), 10-Fletcher Smith, 11-Ben Lam, 12-Ngani Laumape, 13-Billy Procter, 14-Wes Goosen, 15-Jordie Barrett 

Reserves: 16-Asofa Aumua, 17-Pouri Rakete-Stones, 18-Tevita Mafileo,19-Vaea Fifita, 20-Devan Flanders, 21-Jamie Booth, 22-Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23-Vince Aso