Canes snap up prop Smith

Smith had four seasons with the Melbourne franchise after a successful spell with Chiefs, where he won two Super Rugby titles.

The 28-year-old, capped six times by the Wallabies, will now embark on a new challenge with the mighty Hurricanes.

"I'll always be grateful for my time in Australia and I have really enjoyed playing for the Melbourne Rebels, but when the opportunity to play for the Hurricanes came up it was very appealing to me." said Smith, whose parents are from New Zealand and brought him up in Hamilton. 

Coles likely starter for semi-final

Coles has been out of the game since March, but played 30 minutes off the bench against the Brumbies last weekend.

Assistant coach John Plumtree says he's recovered well from that game.

"He's good to go - there's a good chance you'll see him start he's got his spark back and obviously it's a big game for him and a big game for the club this weekend."

It would be Coles' 100th Super Rugby game if he takes the field.

Meanwhile midfielder Vince Aso is also expected to return to the starting lineup after missing the quarter-final through injury.

Hurricanes break down Brumbies to reach semis

It was far from a perfect performance from the defending champions as they struggled up front early and had to break down a rugged Brumbies defensive line to keep their hopes of back to back titles alive.

Brumbies believe they can beat the very best

Though they come into the quarter-finals with the worst record of all the finalists, the Brumbies have been on the wrong end of some nail biters, losing seven games by less than seven points this season.

One of the exceptions to that statistic was a 56-21 loss to the Hurricanes in Napier, the team the Brumbies will host on a Friday night.

Despite that, Alaalatoa said the side's unity gave him unwavering confidence.

"We’ve been with each other for the whole year and know all the hard work that we’ve done and we know what we’re capable of when we’re on," he said.

Hurricanes bring back big guns for Brumbies clash

Coles will come from the bench in his first match in four months, having suffered lingering concussion symptoms since copping a head knock against the Highlanders in round four.

That is a significant inclusion for the Canes but getting their star flyhalf back is of utmost importance.

Barrett missed the win against the Crusaders due to a sinus infection so to have him fit and firing come Friday night is a major boost for Hurricanes fans.

There is still no Vince Aso on the team sheet, which means Jordie Barrett will stay at outside centre.

Brumbies star inspires Canes

Lealiifano will be the the ACT Brumbies' bench weapon in his first game since being diagnosed with leukaemia 11 months ago, as he lines up in the Super Rugby quarterfinal showdown at Canberra Stadium on Friday night.

His journey back to the field has touched players around the world, with livewire Hurricanes fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder saying it was "bloody inspiring" to see Lealiifano back on the field.

Lealiifano to return against Canes

Lealiifano, who has been out of Super Rugby since being diagnosed with leukaemia ten months ago, had originally made his return in Brumbies colours during the team's Austbrokers Cup win over the Asia Pacific Dragons in Singapore in June and will be on the bench for the knockout tie.

Hurricanes end Crusaders unbeaten run

The home team clawed their way back from a 12-7 halftime deficit to outscore the Crusaders four tries to three and exact revenge for their 20 -12 defeat in May.

The win means the Hurricanes will now head to Canberra to play the Brumbies in next weekend's quarter final, while the Crusaders return to Christchurch for a potential match-up against the Highlanders.

The Hurricanes had been forced into major shakeup of their backline immediately before the game with flyhalf Beauden Barrett a late withdrawal due to illness, while Vince Aso was injured during the warmup.

Crusaders rotate front row for Hurricanes clash

The trio who started all three tests against the British and Irish Lions have been left out of the starting lineup are being rested on advice from medical staff.

The side will still have seven All Blacks in its starting lineup including Israel Dagg and Keiran read - Sam Whitelock is on the bench.

RNZI reports Ryan Crotty is still out of action with a hamstring injury he suffered in the first Lions test, but should be back for the quarterfinal next weekend.

Canes hold impressive Lions

The Ireland forward had been sensational all over the field in the opening 65 minutes in Wellington and was unlucky not to be rewarded with a second-half try, but his trip to the sin bin was pivotal.

A dangerous tackle on Jordie Barrett saw him punished and the Canes took full advantage to deny the Lions – who led 23-7 at the break and by 14 points when Henderson left the field – a morale-boosting victory.