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Parsons beats concussion for Blues return

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 9/03/2017 Angelo Risso

James Parsons of the Blues. © Phil Walter/Getty Images James Parsons of the Blues. It's been a long and hard road, but Blues co-captain James Parsons is finally ready to return to Super Rugby action.

The two-time All Blacks rake has sat on the sidelines since September nursing long-term concussion symptoms but will start against the Highlanders on Saturday.

A hit-out for the Blues development side last week was Parsons' final hurdle, having partaken in full contact training with his team for the past month.

He'll now need to help steady a forward pack reeling from their domination at the hands of the Chiefs in last week's 41-26 loss.

"When you're given challenges, you sort of find out a little bit about yourself," Parsons said.

"I'm just excited to put my best foot forward."

The 30-year-old, a relatively late rugby bloomer, came into the professional game armed with a tertiary education in marketing and finance.

He said that, if his concussion hadn't subsided, he would've felt prepared for the occasionally daunting transition into post-rugby life.

Remaining in the world of professional sport was Parsons' first choice after hanging up the boots, but he was keeping an open mind.

"It's a contact sport, that's the reality," Parsons said.

"I feel I've got a good balance, if it was to come to an end, I was prepared.

"If it wasn't, I'm just as eager to get back into it as if it was my debut."

The injury-ravaged Highlanders have lost their first two home fixtures against the Chiefs and Crusaders, and urgently need to get their season back on track.

Parsons was on red alert for the side's kicking game via playmakers Lima Sopoaga and Aaron Smith, as well as their imposing tight five.

But the return of his side's regular All Blacks, including Charlie Faumuina and Jerome Kaino, would help tip the breakdown scales in their favour.

"We've just got to win the contact and collision areas, and we've got to set a platform up front so we can set our backs up," Parsons said.

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