Smith: ‘Faddes ready for Highlanders start’

Date published: March 3 2016

Highlanders co-captain Ben Smith believes the side will lose little after Matt Faddes was picked to replace injured winger Waisake Naholo.

All Blacks speedster Naholo will be out of action for about eight weeks after fracturing his leg during the season-opening 33-31 loss to the Blues in Auckland.

Faddes made his Super Rugby debut at Eden Park and All Blacks full-back Smith has no doubt 24-year-old Faddes is up to the challenge, labelling him "the strongest white man I've ever seen in the gym".

"He's got a bit of power there and he's obviously pretty quick and has got some skills. He'll be excited about the weekend."

Both sides enter Saturday's game – a repeat of last year's final – off a loss, albeit in different circumstances, with the Hurricanes humbled 52-10 by the Brumbies in Canberra.

The Highlanders' failure to adapt to referee Glen Jackson's breakdown interpretations cost them numerous penalties in a tight affair.

Co-captain Shane Christie says Jackson's appointment this week gives his side a chance to right some wrongs.

He explained: "We just probably got a bit too excited and too eager and the ref gave us a couple of obvious penalties. And we couldn't adapt."