Australia vs Wales

No retirement plans for 'smart' Smith

Mon, 06 May 2013 21:24
Large conrad smith treated Large conrad smith knocked out Large conrad smith down

Veteran All Black midfielder Conrad Smith has no plans to retire just yet, despite concerns about his long-term health.

There may be concerns for Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith, following yet another major head knock, but he has no retirement plans at the moment.

The 31-year-old All Black centre was stretchered off just short of the half-hour mark in the Hurricanes' 14-48 loss to the Bulls in Pretoria at the weekend, after getting his head on the wrong side in attempting to tackle Bulls counterpart JJ Engelbrecht.

He was rushed to hospital for scans, after it was feared he may have injured his neck in a collision that left him unconscious for almost a minute.

However, the scans all came back clear and his only lingering issue is the latest incidence of concussion.

Some sections of the New Zealand media suggested  Smith may be forced to rethink his glittering career following his history with major head knocks.

He first encountered problems back in 2006, when he blacked out during a match, and only six weeks ago failed a pitch-side concussion test after an onfield collision.

However, Smith opted to stay with the team and travel with the Hurricanes to Bloemfontein for the second match of their South African tour - where they will meet the Cheetahs on Friday.

Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett, speaking ahead of the Bloemfontein showdown, confirmed that Smith has been ruled out of this week's match.

However, he was unable to say whether the All Black star would be able to play again this season or exactly how long he will be sidelined.

What he was very clear about, is that Smith has not made mention of any retirement thoughts just yet.

"He is doing very well actually," Hammett said, when asked about the team's first-choice captain.

"Obviously he took very limited part in training [in Monday], but in terms of his general well-being he is very up-beat and in much better shape than we thought he would be."

Asked about the previous incidents of concussion and a suggestion that Smith's career is under threat, Hammett said they don't know when the All Black star will be back on the field.

"We have to be really careful with these things, but we have no doubt we've got the best people looking after that.

"Conrad [Smith] is a very, very smart man as well - there is now way he will put himself at undue risk."

Pushed on the issue of Smith's history with concussion, the Hurricanes coach deflected the question: "That is something you need to ask Conrad - he needs to tell you [the media].

"From my perspective he seems very chirpy and quite upbeat."

Hammett said Smith wanted to stay in South Africa with the team.

"However, he is a smart man and won't do anything that will hurt him in the long run.

"We had that discussion with Conrad [about returning home] and we left it up to Conrad."

The coach said even though he is not playing, he is still going to be of benefit to the team this week, as they look to bounce back from the hammering they suffered at the hands of the Bulls.

"He is very well respected [in the team]," Hammett said, adding: "Obviously there will be another player in his No.13 [jersey] and he will help that person and it is probably the best [outside] centre in the world to guide that person."

He said it will depend on all the neurocognitive tests if Smith will play again this season.

"He went through a test on Sunday and failed that one. There will be more tests this week to see his ability to do light training, which is the process that is always followed."

The coach was giving nothing away in terms of a replacement, saying the team to face the Cheetahs will be named on Wednesday.

By Jan de Koning

Australia vs Wales
sast: 17h45 | local: 19h45

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Sat, 10 October 2015
England v Uruguay 19h00 Manchester
Sun, 11 October 2015
Argentina v Namibia 11h00 Leicester
Italy v Romania 13h30 Exeter
France v Ireland 15h45 Cardiff
United States v Japan 19h00 Gloucester
Fri, 16 October 2015
Blue Bulls v Western Province 17h00 Pretoria
Connacht v Zebre 18h30 Sportsground
Glasgow Warriors v Dragons 18h35 Scotstoun
Scarlets v Leinster 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Edinburgh v Ulster 18h45 BT Murrayfield
Sat, 17 October 2015
Munster v Cardiff Blues 12h30 Irish Independent Park
Treviso v Ospreys 13h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Sat, 10 October 2015
Golden Lions v Griquas 29 | 19
Samoa v Scotland 33 | 36
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 34 | 34
Fri, 09 October 2015
New Zealand v Tonga 47 | 9
Western Province v EP Kings 45 | 14
Pumas v Blue Bulls 24 | 25
Wed, 07 October 2015
Namibia v Georgia 16 | 17
South Africa v United States 64 | 0
Tue, 06 October 2015
Fiji v Uruguay 47 | 15
Canada v Romania 15 | 17
Sun, 04 October 2015
Ireland v Italy 16 | 9
Argentina v Tonga 45 | 16
Zebre v Scarlets 8 | 20
Sat, 03 October 2015
England v Australia 13 | 33
Connacht v Cardiff Blues 36 | 31
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26