Smith incident 'done and dusted': All Blacks

International
AAP
by AAP

The Aaron Smith saga is "done and dusted" as the side prepares for Saturday's Bledisloe Cup dead rubber, according to New Zealand assistant coach Ian Foster.

Smith, 27, voluntarily stood down from the third Bledisloe Test this weekend after a two-hour disciplinary hearing with NZ Rugby on Monday.

The 54-cap halfback was seen entering a disabled toilet cubicle at Christchurch Airport in September with a woman who was not his partner.

Aaron Smith will not face the Springboks. Photo: Getty ImagesHe had earlier sat out the side's 57-15 hammering of South Africa in the immediate aftermath of the revelations.

NZ Rugby gave Smith a formal warning on Monday, concluding his actions amounted to serious misconduct.

He also agreed to forfeit his playing wages for Saturday's game.

Foster told reporters his side had already moved on from Smith's absence, with Chiefs halfback Augustine Pulu drafted in as a replacement.

However, he confirmed No.9s TJ Perenara and Tawera Kerr-Barlow would most likely be selected as the match-day squad's two halfbacks.

"We're in Test mode and what Aaron's doing is in the right interests of that," Foster said on Tuesday.

Jerome Kaino played two Tests in June. Photo: Getty ImagesTeammate and fellow All Blacks stalwart Jerome Kaino said Smith had been provided with a clear way forward to atone for his errors.

"We'll support him when we can, but he's got a clear way to get better and focus on himself," the 33-year-old Kaino said.

NZ Rugby general manager Neil Sorensen said Smith appeared genuinely remorseful at his disciplinary hearing and was committed to obtaining help.

Smith was also keen to work on his relationship with his partner and acknowledged the need for support from family, friends and NZ Rugby.

"We have also taken into account the fact that the very public nature of this incident has had a significant impact on him personally," Sorensen said.

"Aaron had already made a very public apology to his partner, friends, family, teammates, his employer and rugby fans."

New Zealand have already wrapped up the Bledisloe Cup for a 14th straight year but will earn a record 18 consecutive Test victories with a win over Australia.

 

Join the discussion

Advertisement