All Blacks scrum-half Smith to miss the rest of the rugby championship

MELBOURNE: Aaron Smith’s All Blacks scrum half (Photo) The international season may be over as he chooses to stay home in New Zealand for the birth of his second child.

Test centurion Smith will miss the remainder of the rugby championship in Australia and may not join the team for their northern hemisphere tour, he said on Wednesday.

Smith’s baby is not due until November, but he feared he could not return home due to “growing likelihood” of being assigned a hotel quarantine place under Covid-19 restrictions from New Zealand.

He will instead play in New Zealand’s national NPC competition.

“The door is not completely closed for me to join the (All Blacks) team for the tour in the north if our baby arrives early,” the 32-year-old said in a team statement.

“In this environment, anything can happen, so I have an open mind.

“For now, I just want to focus on being here with my family, enjoying this time and playing for Manawatū. I can’t wait to get the boots back on.”

Following the rugby championship, New Zealand will travel to Washington to face the United States on October 10. 23 before embarking on their end of season tour in Europe.

Smith’s absence will mean more chances for team scrum-halfs TJ Perenara, Brad Weber and Finlay Christie.

The All Blacks, leading the standings with three consecutive wins, play their second game against Argentina in Brisbane on Saturday, following their 39-0 victory over the Pumas on the Gold Coast.

New Zealand lock Sam Whitelock has also chosen to stay home after the birth of his third child rather than joining the team for the rugby championship. – Reuters

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