Ben Smith keen to get back into action

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Lynn McConnell     15 Aug 2017     Getty Images

Having had suspected concussion issues during Super Rugby, Smith suffered another head knock in the first Test against the British & Irish Lions and missed the remainder of the series, although it was discovered the problems he had been experiencing were vertigo-related stemming from an inner ear issue.

He had 70 minutes of match time in the game of three halves in Pukekohe and said he had enjoyed being out and playing rugby again because it was something he hadn't done a lot of lately.

Smith said being denied playing time due to head injuries was tough because it was natural to want to be part of the team and all that they were involved in. However, injuries were just part of the game and it was a case of trying hard to recover and get back into peak condition.

"It is tough watching but I was lucky enough in my third week to come back and be part of the preparation going into the third week," he said.

It was important that concussion be taken seriously. Head knocks had had a lot of exposure recently and as a player it was great to know that safety came first because once rugby careers were finished there was a lot of time to do other things.

"At that point we want our health to be right to do things with family and not have problems after rugby.

"It's awesome that the right things are in place when that happens," he said.

Smith shared time out of the game with Hurricanes hooker Dane Coles, who missed almost all of the Super Rugby competition with concussion issues. He returned in the playoffs stages for his side and was back with the All Blacks in Pukekohe.

However, he suffered another head knock and has been excluded from consideration for Sydney as a precaution.

Coles had offered Smith some support in the early days of his injury when Coles messaged him to say the big thing was to stay positive.

That was something Coles had demonstrated when returning to playing and quickly switching back into his usual style.

When he played his first game back, the Super Rugby quarterfinal against the Brumbies Smith said, "He came on and had a great impact so I don't think there is any issue within his confidence.

"He is seeing things now as an opportunity to keep working hard and to keep contributing. He can't be out on the field and I know he has been frustrated with what he has gone through but he's stayed positive and that's all you can do," he said.