Springbok Smith in hospital

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BRISBANE, March 2, 2009 (AFP) – Springbok forward Juan Smith was taken to hospital with heat stroke in a dramatic post-script to the Central Cheetahs' 22-3 Super 14 loss to the Queensland Reds here Sunday.

JUAN_SMITHCheetahs skipper Smith collapsed in the dressing room from the effects of playing in 34C (93F) heat in the late afternoon match at Lang Park.

The flanker was recovering on Monday after requiring a saline drip to restore his fluids overnight, team officials said.

"Juan is a great player and he’s played all around the world but he said that’s the worst conditions he’s ever played in," a Cheetahs official said Monday.

Queensland’s forwards reported they lost between four and seven kilograms (nine and 15 pounds) each while playing in the stifling heat.

"It did take its toll on quite a few players," said Reds lock Van Humphries, who shed 7kg. I wouldn’t want to play too many games in that heat, that’s for sure."

Australian Rugby Union boss John O’Neill said he didn’t want to see any Super 14 matches, day or night, played before mid-March in future.

O’Neill said he would raise the heat issue at a board meeting of the South African, New Zealand and Australian Rugby Unions (SANZAR) in Dubai this week.

"Personally, I think we start Super rugby too early and that’s one of the things on the agenda for the SANZAR board meeting," he told reporters before leaving for Dubai.

"Late February, early March in Brisbane is a very humid, hot place and it was an afternoon game to boot."

The match was moved to 4:00pm (0500 GMT) due to Football Federation Australia booking the venue months ago as a precaution against Queensland Roar hosting the A-League grand final on Friday or Saturday.

Instead the A-League decider was played in Melbourne on Saturday.

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