New Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith has returned from an extended break, following the World Cup, to join the squad ahead of their pre-season game in Mangatainoka this Saturday.
The match against the Crusaders will be the side's first hit out of the season in front of their home supporters after starting the season away against the Blues in Whangarei.
The game this weekend will be played in front of a sold-out crowd of 8,000 with kick off at the Mangatainoka Rugby Football Club on Saturday, February 11.
Smith is excited to return home after being announced as the new captain in November.
"I've had a good break, but now I'm ready to get back into it and tackle the season ahead. We have a passionate and talented group of players in the Hurricanes this year and it will be an honour to be part of the group leading this side."
Smith made his debut for the franchise in 2004 against the Cats.
That year he also made his first appearance for the All Blacks against Italy and has since then accumulated 66 and 55 caps for the Hurricanes and All Blacks respectively.
He will be the seventh Hurricanes captain in the franchise's history.
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