Lions tour: All Blacks fullback Ben Smith ruled out of Lions series following concussion in first Test

  • 29/06/2017

Ben Smith's life after the All Blacks has been placed above his potential impact against the British and Irish Lions, ruling him out of the rest of the series.

The influential New Zealand vice captain suffered a head knock 27 minutes into the first Test win in Auckland on Saturday and he didn't return.

While results from concussion protocol testing still aren't in, All Blacks management made the call to rule the 31-year-old out of both remaining Tests.

Coach Steve Hansen noted Smith has been sidelined by concussion twice in this year's Super Rugby campaign with the Highlanders.

"We're just of the opinion that he's had a couple so let's just be a little bit conservative and not play him," Hansen said.

"Long-term concerns have been allayed but we're just going to take our time with him and get him back where we need him to be, so he's comfortable and we're comfortable."

Fellow-veteran outside back Israel Dagg has been shifted to fullback for Saturday's second Test in Wellington.

Also a father of a young family, Dagg could relate to Smith's plight and said the right decision has been made.

"Obviously it's a big series but at the end of the day he's got two little kids, a beautiful wife and you've just got to make those decisions.

"I said to him, we've all only got one brain, so it's pretty simple, we've all got to make good decisions."

Smith is recuperating at home in Dunedin but Dagg said the 62-Test veteran effectively remains part of the team.

He had already sent texts to Dagg and other players with some thoughts about the looming Test.

"The whole team's behind him," Dagg said.

"It's only rugby at the end of the day. We've got a life after footy that we've got to worry about.

"Gone are the days where you thought you were superman and you just get up and run around."

NZN 

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