Ben Smith has 'vertigo', not concussion
INJURY UPDATE: New Zealand breathed a collective sigh of relief, with the news that star fullback Ben Smith is not suffering from concussion symptoms.
In fact Smith, who missed the second Test against the British and Irish Lions and will also miss this coming Saturday's decisive third Test, is in fact suffering from something very different - vertigo.
The news was almost lost in the hype surrounding the Auckland decider, but right at the end of a lengthy media briefing All Black coach Steve Hansen revealed the good news.
As a result Smith rejoined the side in Auckland was taking part in their pre-Test training before the series decider on Saturday.
"Bender [Smith] had some tests done over the last seven or eight days in Dunedin, and he has been cleared of concussion," Hansen said.
"He doesn't have a concussion problem, and he wasn't knocked out.
"What he does have is an inner-ear malfunction which was causing him to get a bit of vertigo and dizziness. That has now cleared. He's coming back up and he's going to be around the boys and train."
Hansen said the clarity around what had been a worrying set of responses to suspected head knocks this season was a major relief for all concerned.
"It's great news for Bender and [his wife] Katie, and takes a weight off their shoulders knowing what we've deemed to be concussion two or three times this year was actually another problem and they've now been able to identify and medicate and fix."
Hansen said that wing Waisake Naholo had recovered from concussion he suffered in the second Test in Wellington, but the side's medical advisors had deemed it was best he sit this weekend out in order to have a better recovery.
He added that wing Rieko Ioane had not been considered for selection because he had been ill all week and it would not be fair for him to play not having the chance to work on the team's game plan during their preparation.