Conrad Smith will run on for his 100th Hurricanes match this Saturday, following 11 seasons with the club.
The 32-year-old said the milestone was one he never dreamed of reaching.
“When I played that first game in 2004, very few would have guessed I’d reach this point. It’s such an honour and I treasure every opportunity I get to wear the swirl and represent the team I love.”
Smith will lead a line-up featuring a number of changes from the side which faced the Brumbies last weekend, including Faifili Levave and Hadleigh Parkes, who return from injury.
Ardie Savea has also been given the nod at openside flanker, while Jeffery Toomaga-Allen makes a return to the starting line-up.
“Jack Lam has had three very physical encounters, so we’re looking to take him out of the early battle exchanges this week. It’s good that we can do that, and give someone like Ardie a start as well,” said coach, Mark Hammett.
“The thinking is similar between John and Jeff. There’s not much that separates those two, and John also provides cover for both tighthead and loosehead, which we’ll look to utilise throughout the season.”
Chris Smylie gets his first start for the season at halfback ahead of TJ Perenara. Hammett said bringing Perenara off the bench would give him the opportunity to work on a few technical components of his game that had been reviewed during the week.
Alapati Leiua will occupy the right wing, with Cory Jane unavailable this week due to a broken nose, while Matt Proctor has also returned from injury and will provide cover off the bench.
The match kicks off at 4.35pm (NZT) at Westpac Stadium.
The team to face the Cheetahs is;
1. Ben Franks 2. Dane Coles 3. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen 4. Jeremy Thrush 5. Mark Reddish 6. Faifili Levave 7. Ardie Savea 8. Blade Thomson 9. Chris Smylie 10. Beauden Barrett 11. Julian Savea 12. Hadleigh Parkes 13. Conrad Smith (c) 14. Alapati Leiua 15. James Marshall
Reserves 16. Motu Matu’u 17. Chris Eves 18. John Schwalger 19. James Broadhurst 20. Jack Lam 21. TJ Perenara 22. Matt Proctor 23. Marty Banks