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Highlanders boosted by likely return of Smith

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James Mortimer     14 Jul 2014     Getty Images

Smith, who before being ruled out last weekend had played over two years of rugby with the Highlanders without missing a match, was admitted to a Sydney hospital after a minor graze turned out to be a serious infection after the side's heavy defeat to the table topping Waratahs.

Hospitalised for a few days, Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph felt that if the need was desperate Smith could have played, but the team’s co-captain was given another week to recover.

Smith is travelling with the squad that is currently en route to South Africa via Sydney, with a trip to Durban confirmed after the side suffered a 34-8 loss to the Crusaders.

A creaky set piece, exposed with back-to-back matches against international packs in the form of the Waratahs and seven-time champions, will need the strike power of Smith if they are to knock out the South African Conference winners.

The Highlanders have won their last two games against the Sharks, including a 34-18 humdinger in Round 11 this year at King’s Park.