Former Wanganui hooker Daniel Smith was called into the Hurricanes for his only season in 2003 for an injured and unavailable Andrew Hore and was the starting hooker ahead of North Harbour’s Joe Ward for the last eight games of the season.
A solid hooker who could play prop when required, Smith started his first class playing career for Wanganui, representing his home province 24 times between 1996-1999 and becoming first choice hooker in 1998, before shifting to neighbouring Taranaki and to the promise of First Division rugby.
His transfer to Taranaki was one game into the 1999 season and he was duly selected to play his first game against his former Wanganui teammates. He went on to feature in eight of nine Taranaki’s NPC matches that season.
Smith’s Taranaki career continued in 2000, a highlight being playing in Taranaki’s extraordinary last round 48-46 NPC win over Counties Manukau to propel them into the semi-finals, and then playing in their narrow 23-31 playoff loss to Canterbury a week later.
2001 saw the arrival of Hore from Otago, restricting Smith’s to two pre-season starts against Wellington and Horowhenua Kapiti and eight further appearances as a substitute. He remained Hore’s deputy for the amber and blacks in 2003 and 2004, but still earned another 20 caps over that time, notching up 50 caps for his province before retiring at the end of 2004.