Aaron Smith will miss the remainder of the Rugby Championship to stay in New Zealand for the birth of his second child; Smith may not link up with the squad for their northern hemisphere tour this autumn, when the All Blacks face Wales, Italy, Ireland and France
Last Updated: 15/09/21 6:42am
All Blacks scrum-half Aaron Smith is a doubt for the upcoming autumn internationals after electing to miss the remainder of the Rugby Championship to stay in New Zealand for the birth of his second child.
Smith’s baby is not due until November but he was concerned he would not be able to return home because of the “increasing unlikelihood” of being allocated a spot in hotel quarantine as part of New Zealand’s COVID-19 restrictions.
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September 18, 2021, 10:55am
Test centurion Smith will now miss the rest of the Rugby Championship in Australia, instead opting to play in New Zealand’s domestic NPC competition, and may not link up with the squad for their northern hemisphere tour, where they will face Wales, Italy, Ireland and France.
“The door isn’t completely closed to me joining the (All Blacks) team for the northern tour if our baby comes early,” the 32-year-old said.
“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 Manawatu. I can’t wait to get the boots on again.”
After the Rugby Championship, New Zealand head to Washington to play the United States on October 23 before embarking on their season-ending tour of Europe.
Smith’s absence will mean more chances for squad scrum-halves TJ Perenara, Brad Weber and Finlay Christie.
The All Blacks, top of the Rugby Championship table with three straight wins, play their second match against Argentina in Brisbane on Saturday, following their 39-0 win over the Pumas on the Gold Coast.
New Zealand lock Sam Whitelock also elected to stay home following the birth of his third child rather than join the squad.