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Ben Smith returns in Highlanders loss

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/03/2017

All Blacks fullback Ben Smith has emerged unscathed from his return to the field in the Highlanders' 41-15 loss to the Hurricanes.

The 30-year-old Test vice skipper was briefly knocked out and suffered concussion in his side's Super Rugby round one loss to the Chiefs, causing him to sit out derbies against the Crusaders and Blues.

But he pulled the boots back on against last year's champions on Saturday, making 18 carries, six line breaks and two offloads as his side were soundly beaten.

His straightforward return will be music to the ears of All Blacks selectors, who have already watched on in horror as outside backs Israel Dagg, Waisake Naholo and Nehe Milner-Skudder went down with injury.

"Last week I started training without doing contact and this week did a bit of contact," the 60-cap Smith told Sky Sports NZ.

"Once I did that, I had good confidence I could get out there and help the team."

Smith had previously told reporters he suffered memory loss in the wake of the concussion, caused by banging his head on the Dunedin turf after contesting a high ball with the Chiefs' Damian McKenzie.

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