Rugby Union

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Conrad Smith out for up to six weeks with broken thumb

All Blacks centre Conrad Smith has been ruled out of the third Test against England and is likely to miss the remainder of the Super Rugby season after he broke his thumb in the 28-27 victory over Stuart Lancaster's side in Dunedin on Saturday.

The 32-year-old is likely to be out of rugby for up to six weeks, local media reported, also effectively ruling him out of the remainder of the Wellington Hurricanes season when Super Rugby resumes next week.

The Hurricanes are in playoffs contention but only have two games remaining, while most of the other teams still in the hunt have three matches left in their season. The playoffs start on July 18, with the final scheduled for August 2.

Smith's starting place in the All Blacks for the third test in Hamilton on Saturday is likely to be filled by rookie Malakai Fekitoa with New Zealand having already wrapped up the three-match series 2-0 following their win in Dunedin.

The annual southern hemisphere Rugby Championship tournament involving Argentina, Australia and South Africa begins on August 16.