Conrad Smith's travel plans this week are still to be
decided after the All Blacks centre failed a sideline
concussion test in the Hurricanes' defeat by the Blues in
Smith, the Hurricanes' captain, was to undergo a fitness test
today, after which he would be monitored for headaches. If he
suffers any adverse effects, he won't be on the plane for the
match against the Reds in Brisbane on Friday night.
The Hurricanes leave on Wednesday but no announcement will be
made on Smith's inclusion until tomorrow.
"He needs to pass the physical test now," coach Mark Hammett
said this afternoon. "If he's not cleared then he won't [fly
to Brisbane]. He needs to be cleared today to be able to pass
that seven-day protocol.
"He's in pretty good shape and in pretty good spirits.
"He generally doesn't have a lot of knocks. He's had a few
eye injuries but this is not an eye injury. I think he'll be
Smith left the Westpac Stadium field after colliding with
Rene Ranger in the 70th minute of the 34-20 defeat, a
dispiriting one for the Hurricanes who had plenty of
opportunities to punish the Blues.
The Pitch Side Concussion Assessment has been introduced to
Super Rugby this season.
Hammett added: "He got a knock, but he felt fine. He felt
fine straight after the game when I was talking to him, but
that doesn't always determine how bad a concussion is."
One of the worst concussions Smith has suffered came in 2010
when he blacked out after taking the ball into a tackle.
His most serious eye injury was a detached retina, suffered
while playing for the Hurricanes last season.
He passed a psychometric concussion test this morning, with a
physical test the next step in the process. If Smith passes
that he will be allowed to take part in contact training.
Smith's leadership could be crucial against the Reds, who
have had a mixed start to the season. They lost the opener
against the Brumbies in Canberra but beat their biggest
rivals the Waratahs at their Suncorp Stadium home in the
The Reds under Ewen McKenzie are often difficult customers at
home and adding to the difficulties for the Hurricanes is the
late kick-off - 8.20pm local time or 11.20pm in New Zealand.
Also monitoring Smith's recovery will be All Blacks coach
The 30-year-old Smith is said to be taking a sabbatical later
this year and won't be available for the All Blacks' European
tour. With Richard Kahui recovering from shoulder surgery and
leaving the Chiefs for Japan at the end of the Super Rugby
season, and Tamati Ellison also making a comeback from an
operation, Hansen needs options for the No13 jersey.
Tim Nanai-Williams was outstanding there for the Chiefs in
the victory over the Highlanders, scoring two tries in the
process, but is very inexperienced.
Highlander Ben Smith is looming as a safe option, with Rene
Ranger also in the frame if he can impress at the Blues this
Crusader Robbie Fruean will want to press his claims against
Ranger at Eden Park on Friday night. It will be the
Crusaders' first competition match of the season after a bye
in round one.