Wellington - Ben Smith believes the All Blacks' cautious approach to head
knocks is the right one even if it means key players are forced to miss Tests.
The fullback, who missed New Zealand's second and third
Tests against the British and Irish Lions, will return from an inner-ear issue
in Saturday's Bledisloe Cup opener against Australia.
It was initially feared the vice-captain's recent balance
problems resulted from a concussion during New Zealand's first Test against the
Smith, who will take a sabbatical from the sport after two
more Tests, noted it was important medics take a conservative approach with any
"As a player it's great to know your safety is
first," he said in Sydney.
"As players we've got hopefully a lot of time when
rugby finishes to do other things and at that point we want our health to be
"So we can do things with family and not have problems.
"It's really important that it is taken seriously...
it's awesome the right things are in place when it (head knocks) happens."
All Blacks hooker Dane Coles will miss this weekend's ANZ
Stadium clash with the Wallabies because of a recent head knock.
The world champions' coach, Steve Hansen, indicated Coles is
fit and could have played but he'd been ruled out because of serious concussion
symptoms suffered earlier this year.
"When I had my problems, he sent me a message to say
that his best method was just to stay positive," Smith said of Coles.
"That is what he has been doing.
"I know he has been frustrated with what he has gone through
but he's still been really positive and that's all you can do.
"You know that you're getting looked after and when the
time is right you'll be playing."