5 Jun 2009

Graham Henry expecting to lose Conrad Smith for first Test

6:55 pm on 5 June 2009

A day after the All Blacks heard that centre Richard Kahui will be out for the rest of the international rugby season coach Graham Henry has also probably lost his most experienced number 13 for at least a week.

Conrad Smith has a hamstring strain and Henry doubts he'll be fit for the first test against France in Dunedin.

Henry says it's frustrating but it's out of the coaches' control.

He says no decision's been made on who'll join the squad to replace Kahui, who's played with an injured left shoulder for about 18 months before he aggravated it in the Super 14 final.

However Henry has indicated Isaia Toeava will probably start at centre if Smith can't, describing the Auckland utility as "gold" because he covers so many positions in the backline.