Smith taking time to recover
Wed, 01 Aug 2012 6:47p.m.
By Jim Kayes
All Blacks centre Conrad Smith hopes to be fit to play Argentina in Wellington next month, but says he won't be rushed back into action.
And that begs the question of who will cover for Smith in this month's first two tests against the Wallabies in the new rugby championship.
With Smith's injured eye reducing him to a spectator's role, Tamati Ellison's being talked up as the man to start outside Ma'a Nonu and Dan Carter at centre.
“I thought Tamati does a pretty good job at centre,” Smith says.
But it would seem strange for the coaches to keep Sonny Bill Williams from heading to Japan and not start him against Australia, especially when he and Nonu have played tests at centre.
“Oh there's a few decision yet to make, we've also got Tamati with his hamstring,” assistant coach Ian Foster says. “He ran well today which is good news for us too.”
Wing Cory Jane's return after missing the Ireland tests with an ankle injury is also good news, though perhaps not for Zac Guildford who could be missing when the squad's named on Sunday.
Flanker Victor Vito's over the knee injury he suffered in the first test Ireland test. But lock Ali Williams remains sidelined with his knee injury.
And while Smith hopes to play Argentina next month, he won't pre-empt a medical clearance.
“I'll probably feel like playing in a couple of weeks but it's not really something I want to mess around with. I'll just follow their call.”
And he's not sure when he suffered the detached retina in his left eye that took two operations to repair.
“It was around the end of the test window so it could have been that last test or even against the Crusaders. I just noticed it just wasn't quite right.”
Meanwhile the All Blacks will have a practice game in Auckland next Friday with the opposition yet to be confirmed.
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