WALLABIES icon George Smith has been denied a farewell Super Rugby match for the Reds, with a lingering knee injury ruling the 37-year-old flanker out of the season ending clash against the Sunwolves.

CHIEFS v HURRICANES in Hamilton, Friday 5.35pm AEST
The Chiefs will be without stars Damian McKenzie and Sam Cane for the derby against the Hurricanes, but have regained the services of All Blacks ace Brodie Retallick.

Five-eighth McKenzie has to sit out in the second of his enforced All Blacks rest weeks while co-captain Cane is recovering from a concussion.

Test hooker Nathan Harris (thigh) and outside back Sean Wainui (shoulder) are also missing.

McKenzie’s brother Marty replaces him in the No 10 jersey while Mitch Karpik will wear Cane’s No 7.

Lock Retallick has been out for six weeks with a pectoral injury.

The Hurricanes (50 points) are second in the New Zealand conference with the Chiefs (45) third with the two sides likely to meet again in Wellington in next week’s quarterfinals.

“We’re going out there to put on a great performance, it could be our last game at home,” Chiefs coach Colin Cooper said.

“We want to make sure that wherever there is an opportunity, that we grab it.

“We look forward to playing our own game, and are also aware of what the Hurricanes bring.

“They showed against the Blues how good they are off the set piece — and we’ve done some work around our set piece defence — but with ball in hand, our focus is on what we can do.

“Marty will be the game driver at No 10 and we are confident that he can control the game really well.”

Meanwhile, Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd has made three changes to his starting lineup.

Prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen, lock Michael Fatialofa and winger Ben Lam replace Ben May, Vaea Fifita and Julian Savea.

Fifita has a toe injury.

“He didn’t play for us before the June break, because of injury, and then didn’t get a lot of time with the All Blacks,” Boyd said.

“It’s not ideal for him.

“He hasn’t had a lot of constant football for us in the last six or eight weeks, but he’s a helluva athlete and we’d hope that he’ll come right.”

CHIEFS (15-1): Solomon Alaimalo, Toni Pulu, Anton Lienert-Brown, Charlie Ngatai (c), Shaun Stevenson, Marty McKenzie, Brad Weber, Jesse Parete, Mitch Karpik, Lachlan Boshier, Tyler Ardron, Brodie Retallick, Angus Ta’avao, Liam Polwart, Sam Prattley

Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Karl Tu’inukuafe, Jeff Thwaites, Michael Allardice, Liam Messam, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Tiaan Falcon, Johnny Faauli

HURRICANES (15-1): Jordie Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Wes Goosen, Ngani Laumape, Ben Lam, Beauden Barrett, TJ Perenara, Blade Thomson, Sam Henwood, Brad Shields (c), Sam Lousi, Michael Fatialofa, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Ricky Riccitelli, Toby Smith

Reserves: James O’Reilly, Chris Eves, Ben May, Gareth Evans, Reed Prinsep, Finlay Christie, Ihaia West, Julian Savea

Referee: Mike Fraser (NZ)

Venue: FMG Stadium

REDS v SUNWOLVES in Brisbane, Friday 7.45pm AEST
Departing Reds stars George Smith and Kane Douglas will miss the season ending clash against the Sunwolves at Suncorp Stadium.

Wallabies legend Smith has failed to overcome a lingering knee injury as the 37-year-old prepares to take up his next contract in England with the Bristol Bears.

Former Test lock Douglas, meanwhile, was simply overlooked by coach Brad Thorn and will watch from the sidelines before joining French club Bordeaux.

The Reds are out of playoff contention.

“It’s unfortunate that George doesn’t get an opportunity to play in the Reds jersey one final time, but we thought it was in his best interests to listen to his body and sit this one out,” Thorn said.

“He has given plenty to us and to Australian rugby as a whole and we wish him all the best with the rest of his career.

“Kane Douglas has done a great job for us this season, but with him moving overseas, we felt we should give opportunities to younger players.”

That mindset means Wallaby Lukhan Tui gets a start in the second row and Australian under-20s lock Angus Blyth is in line for a Super Rugby debut off the bench.

Another Junior Wallaby, halfback Tate McDermott, gets his first Reds start ahead of Moses Sorovi.

“(Blyth) has been working away, waiting to get a taste at this level,” Thorn said.

“He’s one to watch for the future.

“With Tate McDermott and Moses Sorovi, they’re both exciting young players with plenty to offer.

“This is Tate’s first opportunity in the starting side and we know Moses will provide some spark off the bench.

“The Sunwolves are a dangerous attacking team.

“They’ve got some clever plays and a smart kicking game, so we need to be switched on and prepared for anything.”

The Sunwolves also have a couple of Queenslanders in their pack with Ed Quirk named to start at openside flanker and James Moore at lock.

REDS (15-1): Jono Lance, Filipo Daugunu, Jordan Petaia, Duncan Paia’aua, Eto Nabuli, Hamish Stewart, Tate McDermott, Scott Higginbotham (c), Liam Wright, Caleb Timu, Lukhan Tui, Izack Rodda, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, JP Smith

Reserves: Alex Mafi, Harry Hoopert, Ruan Smith, Angus Blyth, Angus Scott-Young, Adam Korczyk, Moses Sorovi, Teti Tela

SUNWOLVES (15-1): Jason Emery, Yoshikazu Fujita, Michael Little, Harumichi Tatekawa, Akihito Yamada, Hayden Parker, Yutaka Nagare (c), Willie Britz, Ed Quirk, Michael Leitch, Wimpie van der Walt, James Moore, Takuma Asahara, Yusuke Niwai, Craig Millar

Reserves: Jaba Bregvadze, Keita Inagaki, Hencus van Wyk, Kazuki Himeno, Rahboni Warren-Vosayaco, Fumiaki Tanaka, Rikiya Matsuda, Ryoto Nakamura

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (NZ)

Venue: Suncorp Stadium

HIGHLANDERS v REBELS in Dunedin, Saturday 3.15pm AEST



Referee: Glen Jackson (NZ)

Venue: Forsyth Barr Stadium

CRUSADERS v BLUES in Christchurch, Saturday 5.35pm AEST



Referee: Federico Anselmi (ARG)

Venue: AMI Stadium

WARATAHS v BRUMBIES in Sydney, Saturday 7.45pm AEST



Referee: Angus Gardner (AUS)

Venue: Allianz Stadium

LIONS v BULLS in Johannesburg, Saturday 11.05pm AEST



Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (SA)

Venue: Ellis Park

SHARKS v JAGUARES in Durban, Sunday 1.15am AEST



Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge

Venue: Kings Park