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Ben Smith sets sights on Samoa Test

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Friday, May 26, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

A clause had been included in his contract to allow him to play for the Highlanders against the tourists, but at that stage the Samoan game had not been scheduled.

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Smith said playing for the All Blacks was the pinnacle and if he was selected he would play against Samoa rather than for the Highlanders against the Lions.

Playing for the Highlanders against the Lions would have been good but it wasn't now possible to play both as he had originally thought.

Smith will be back at fullback for the Highlanders at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday against the Waratahs.

He said having put in a lot of work after recovering from a torn ligament in his ankle while the side was away, he was looking forward to getting among the action with his team-mates and he was more concerned with that, than equalling Anton Oliver's record of 127 appearances for the side.

While wanting to focus on the game ahead when asked if it felt like he had played 127 games he said he still felt in good nick and able to contribute towards what the team wanted to do.

"In the last few weeks I've probably had a few injuries that I haven't had before," he said.

"It was great watching the team get those two tough wins in Africa and obviously playing against the Force last weekend, and playing really well, was great to watch. And I'm looking forward to getting out there and play the best that I can."

While the Waratahs had endured a tough season they showed against the Rebels last weekend that when they nailed their game they were dangerous and they would be coming to Dunedin looking to pressure the Highlanders and to attack.