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Umaga starts season on bench
1 February 2007 15:24pm
Former New Zealand captain Tana Umaga will start the Hurricanes' Super 14 season on the bench.
Smith will captain the team in the absence of Rodney So'oialo, but coach Colin Cooper said the veteran would remain a key influence.
Cooper told The Dominion Post: "Tana is outstanding with his leadership and if his form proves he is better at starting we will look at that.
"Conrad was outstanding last week as captain. He is the future, not only as a player but as captain."
Wellington wing Cory Jane, who will play fullback, and Auckland left wing David Smith have been named in the starting line-up while Wellington half-back Alby Mathewson is on the bench with Umaga.
The real lack of clout comes in the back row of the scrum, with So'oialo, Jerry Collins and Chris Masoe unavailable.
Cooper added: "It's always going to be difficult to replace three All Blacks particularly in that area but the ones we've got are shaping up well.
"We've got a different mix and we've just got to make sure that mix works with our game plan.
"Eddie Jones has a lot of experience and no doubt the Reds will be far better for it.
"They'll be very difficult, they'll be conditioned and it's a major challenge for us. They'll be a challenge for any team in Brisbane."
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