The All Blacks will be without Aaron Smith for their Tests against the Springboks after it was confirmed he won’t be joining the team in Australia for the rest of the Rugby Championship.
The 32-year-old Smith stayed in New Zealand to be with his family awaiting the birth of his second child. He will join his Manawatū Turbos team this week to train and play in the Bunnings Warehouse NPC this season.
Smith says he’s excited about playing for the Turbos and can’t wait to get back on the field.
“There’s a silver lining here about not being with the All Blacks. I’m only five games short of 50 for the Turbos and excited about hopefully making that milestone.”
Smith said the increasing unlikelihood of getting an MIQ spot to return to New Zealand for the birth was the reason for staying in New Zealand. His baby isn’t due until November but he said he didn’t want to risk not being here for the birth.
“The door isn’t completely closed to me joining the team for the northern tour if our baby comes early. In this environment anything can happen, so I’ve got an open mind. At the moment though, I just want to focus on being here with my family and enjoying that time and playing for Manawatū. I can’t wait to get the boots on again.”
The All Blacks will also be without experienced second rower Sam Whitelock for the rest of the Rugby Championship, while flyhalf Richie Mo’unga may feature in the final Test against the Springboks.
Photo: Gianluigi Guercia/AFP