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Injured Hurricanes skipper to stay on tour
May 7, 2013
The Hurricanes' Conrad Smith beats the tackle of the Kings' Sergeal Petersen to score a try, Hurricanes v Southern Kings, Super Rugby, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, March 30, 2013
Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith will stay with his team in South Africa despite not recovering from concussion © Getty Images
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Hurricanes captain Conrad Smith will remain with the team in South Africa but will not play against the Cheetahs on Friday.

Smith was knocked out in the 48-14 loss to the Bulls last weekend and was unconscious for around 45 seconds and taken from the field on a stretcher in a neck brace. He was sent to hospital for precautionary scans on his neck which came back all clear and he returned to the team hotel that night. However, he failed his initial psychometric test which has ruled him out of the Bloemfontein clash.

But Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett was quick to ease fears about his captain on Tuesday saying Smith appeared 'very chirpy' and had been taking part in team activities away from the field - even helping his group win the team's quiz night.

Smith, who made the decision to stay with the team rather than return home to Wellington, has also taken a limited role in training - doing the presentation to the players around strategy for this week's game and throwing a few balls around.

"He's in a very good space. He came down to training with us. He took a very limited part in that. In terms of his general well being, his general feeling, he's very up, probably more so than he thought he would be as well," Hammett said. "From my perspective he seems very chirpy and quite upbeat to the point that he wants to stay in Africa with the team. He seems fairly upbeat but he's a smart man and he won't do anything that's not best for him."

Smith will continue to have psychometric testing but as yet Hammett said they had no idea how long the All Black centre would be sidelined for or what it meant for the player long-term.

"Like all injuries, and particularly these type of injuries, we've got to be really careful and monitor them," Hammett added. "There's no doubt we've got the best people looking after that. Conrad is a very, very smart man as well so there's no way he'd put himself at undue risk. He'll continue to be tested this week but that will have no bearing on selection this week. That's just around his ability to then get into light training and the process which is always done when we're talking about a head injury."

Smith, who failed a concussion test after being 'stunned' twice in the loss to the Blues in round two, has previously said that he would consider his future if he began to suffer repeated head knocks but Hammett believed his captain had not reached that stage yet.

© Sportal
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