Rugby Championship

All Blacks bench Smith

2012-09-12 21:10
Aaron Smith (Gallo Images)

Dunedin - Scrumhalf Aaron Smith, hailed as the standout find for the All Blacks this year, has been benched for disciplinary reasons for Saturday's Test against the Springboks in Dunedin.

The dropping of Smith, the first choice scrumhalf in all six Tests the All Blacks have played in 2012, was the biggest surprise among the four changes for the fourth-round Rugby Championship game.

Hansen said Smith needed to be disciplined but would not reveal what he had done.

"Unfortunately for Aaron Smith we've got a strong focus on recovery and he broke a protocol in that area last week, so that made him ineligible for selection for the first XV," Hansen said.

"There's nothing to elaborate on. He just broke a protocol that's non-negotiable and the consequence is you don't start in the XV if you break it."

Smith's demotion earns a recall for 62-Test veteran Piri Weepu, who produced a stirring performance when he came on for the last quarter of last week's Test against Argentina.

The other changes to the All Blacks side which beat the South Americans 21-5 see lock Sam Whitelock, flank Liam Messam and hooker Andrew Hore promoted to the starting line-up.

Smith, who possesses the swiftest pass in New Zealand, which has been credited with giving his backs an extra edge, has started in all six previous Tests the All Blacks have played this year.

But coach Steve Hansen indicated no one in the side could rest on their laurels despite the All Blacks being unbeaten after three matches of the Rugby Championship.

"At the halfway stage of the new Rugby Championship we are very happy, from a results point of view," he said.

"There is a second challenge we have set ourselves - to constantly improve our game - and in that regard we are not the finished product."

The return of Messam is not a surprise after Hansen rated him the leading blindside flank. He gave Victor Vito a start last week while Brodie Retallick did not make the most of his start against Argentina and slips behind Whitelock.

Among the replacements, Charlie Faumuina keeps out Ben Franks as the back up prop and Tamati Ellison takes over from Ben Smith in the back utility role.

Teams:

New Zealand:

15 Israel Dagg, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock

Substitutes: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Charlie Faumuina, 18 Brodie Retallick, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Aaron Smith, 21 Beauden Barrett, 22 Tamati Ellison

South Africa:

15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (captain), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Morne Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Juandre Kruger, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Andries Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtwarira

Substitutes: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Dean Greyling, 18-Andries Bekker, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Johan Goosen, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22 Pat Lambie

NEXT ON SPORT24X

Coetzee tempers his delight

2014-04-20 14:27

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
48 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
16 August 2014
Australia v New Zealand, Sydney 12:05
South Africa v Argentina, Pretoria 17:00
23 August 2014
New Zealand v Australia, Auckland 09:35
Argentina v South Africa, rgentina 21:10
06 September 2014
New Zealand v Argentina, apier 09:35
Australia v South Africa, erth 12:05
Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Do you have faith in coach Heyneke Meyer taking the Springboks to the 2015 Rugby World Cup?

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.