Aaron Smith

Smith vows to do better for All Blacks in semi-final

Smith, one of the game's all-time greats and a World Cup winner eight years ago, said he made a slow start at the Stade de France then let his team mates down by earning 10 minutes in the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on just before halftime.

The All Blacks still managed to come out on top 28-24 against the Irish to earn a place in the last four.

"Going into this game, I really want to start better," Smith said of Friday's semi-final against Argentina at the same venue."

Smith sent off in style

A last-minute try to replacement halfback and heir apparent Folau Fakatava sealed the stunning 35-30 victory.

The result robbed the Reds of just their second win in 27 years in Dunedin and left the injury-hit side in grave danger of missing the Super Rugby Pacific finals.

The Highlanders meanwhile kept their own play off hopes alive as they move into the top eight.

The Reds led 14-0 early then 27-14 early in the second half, but the Highlanders kept coming.

Highlanders name team for Aaron Smith’s final home game

Smith has been named at halfback ahead of his 184th appearance for the Highlanders this week. But, the Highlanders have made an especially intriguing decision at fullback.

Mitch Hunt, who has played most of the season at flyhalf, has been promoted from the bench ahead of the round 14 clash – and will start in the No. 15 jersey.

Coach Clarke Dermody has made four changes to the starting side, including two changes in the forward pack.

Aaron Smith returns for Highlanders’ must-win clash

The Highlanders are currently second-last on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder, but would rise above the 10th placed Rebels with a win on Saturday.

All Black Ethan de Groot will start at loosehead prop again this week, and will pack down in the front row alongside Andrew Makalio and Jermaine Ainsley.

Shannon Frizell and Will Tucker will combine in the second row, while the inclusion of Sean Withy is the sole change in the loose forward trio.

Billy Harmon will captain the team from openside flanker, while the in-form Hugh Renton will line up at the back of the scrum.

Aaron Smith to miss Highlanders match due to death of father

Wayne passed away on Friday, and the Highlanders have given their halfback leave to remain in New Zealand rather than travel to Perth tomorrow for the match against the Force on Saturday.

The All Black will likely join the squad in time for the match against the Waratahs in Sydney the following weekend.

“It's probably a good time to recognise him and his family with the passing of his dad,” assistant coach Dave Dillon said today.

“It’s pretty tough to process at the best of times, so we’re just thinking of them.

Aaron Smith and Beauden Barrett: All Blacks to join Japanese club

Scrum-half Smith, 34, looks set for his last season in New Zealand having signed long-term with Toyota Verblitz.

Fly-half Barrett, 31, could still return home to play after 2024 following his spell with the same club.

Barrett took a sabbatical to join Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath in 2021 before returning to New Zealand.

All Blacks full-back Damian McKenzie played in Japan last season while fly-half Richie Mo'unga has signed up for the 2024 campaign.

Sam Cane and Aaron Smith to start for All Blacks

Cane, who has spent most of the season out with injury, returns to the loose forward trio that includes the introduction of Akira Ioane, who is on the blindside and Ardie Savea at number eight.

Dane Coles starts at hooker.

There are four changes in the backs from the side that lost to Ireland, with Aaron Smith starting at halfback, Richie Mo'unga at first-five the injured Beauden Barrett, Quinn Tupaea at centre for the injured Anton Lienert-Brown and George Bridge coming onto the left wing.

Aaron Smith back with All Blacks

Smith was expected to miss the entire season-ending northern hemisphere tour to stay home with family after the birth of his second son Leo but could line up in the final two tests against the Irish and France.

"It all happened very quickly and now I'm two hours from jumping on the plane to join the boys in Ireland," Smith said in a video posted on the All Blacks' social media account on Tuesday.

"I've very excited to come back and join the boys ... Two very big games for the lads, which is really exciting to be part of.

Aaron Smith looking forward to linking up with former All Black

The All Blacks revealed on Wednesday that the 32-year-old halfback will remain in NZ for the remainder of the competition due to the impending arrival of his second child. There’s a small chance that Smith could join the squad for their northern tour, but the safer bet would be that his test season is done and dusted for the year.

Smith will, however, continue to take the field, and has linked up with Manawatu for the remainder of New Zealand’s provincial season.

Smith to miss Rugby Championship

Smith stayed in New Zealand to be with his family awaiting the birth of his second child.

He will join his Manawatu team this week to train and play in the NPC this season.

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.