Aaron Smith stands down from Bledisloe

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Aaron Smith will not feature in this weekend's Bledisloe Cup clash, 'voluntarily standing down' after a disciplinary hearing with New Zealand Rugby on Monday.

Smith was ruled out of the All Blacks' last Test, against the Springboks, after revelations of an airport tryst between he and an unidentified woman emerged.

A panel chaired by New Zealand Rugby general manager Neil Sorensen heard the case , concluding that Smith's actions,amounted to 'serious misconduct', due to the impact on the All Blacks' commercial partners and the team's reputation.

Aaron Smith ahs an enviable record at Test level. Photo: Getty ImagesSmith will be issued with a formal warning over the incident and has opted to stand himself down from this weekend's Eden Park Test.

“It’s important to note that as an employment matter, it is not usual to comment publicly on proceedings.  However, both Aaron and his legal representative, and New Zealand Rugby acknowledge that in the circumstances, there is a need to make some public comment."

Sorensen said the high-profile nature of the  controversy had affected Smith greatly, an element they considered in their ruling.

 “Aaron presented himself as genuine, honest and incredibly remorseful.  We have also taken into account the fact that the very public nature of this incident, has had a significant impact on him personally," he said.

“We accepted that he is genuine about wanting to improve himself and note that he himself has acknowledged he will need the support of his family, friends and Rugby to move forward.

“We also noted that Aaron had already made a very public apology to his partner, friends and family, team mates, his employer, and rugby fans and he had already served a one-week stand down.”