Smith targets Stormers clash
Wellington - Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith, who recently joined up with his troops after a long off season and a near three-month world trip, said he would make sure his strength and conditioning were up to scratch before putting on his boots.
According to the allblacks.com website
, it has already been confirmed that Smith will miss the Hurricanes final trial match against the Chiefs.
The All Blacks centre, who looks ‘smaller’ than his usually listed 94-96kg, said that it was important he got himself back to match fitness - and size.
The Rugby World Cup-winning midfielder, who was an integral part of the All Blacks success at last year’s tournament, was named by coach Mark Hammett in December as the franchise’s new captain.
Victor Vito has been leading the side in his absence.
Speaking to the Dominion Post, he said he was still in good shape, but needed to do a lot before playing rugby ahead of a long Super Rugby and international season.
"I did look after myself, it wasn't an injury break, so I was able to move around and came back in pretty good condition, but I still require a lot of work," he said.
"I got through last week really well. I was happy and probably better than I thought I'd be. I'd say I'm on track to start that first game of the competition, as I always wanted to be.
"But for me physically it's also being in a shape where if I finish a game I don't take five days to recover, at the moment, if I played a Super Rugby match in South Africa tomorrow, I would be sore for a long time.
"You have to get your body conditioned for that sort of physicality and for me that's the biggest thing. That involves a bit of gym work obviously, and also nutrition to get to a weight where I can carry myself through games."
He was aiming to be ready for the Hurricanes opening match against the Stormers, with the Wellington-based franchise beginning the 2012 Super Rugby season on the road.
"For everyone it is about being match fit, but that can mean different things to different players," he said.
"You can go for long runs, but it's being able to do that interval-type short running in a game.
"It depends on the length you are away. Three months away you normally need four or five weeks to get back into things. When I broke my leg, I was out for five months and I think I was training for two months before I felt good playing again."