Rugby and more Rugby!

The Rugby Championship and Currie Cup are in full swing. Who are the early title favourites? Have your say on our Forum!

All Blacks bench Smith

2012-09-12 21:10

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

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

06 September 2014
  • New Zealand v Argentina, Napier 09:35
  • Australia v South Africa, Perth 12:05
13 September 2014
  • New Zealand v South Africa, Wellington 09:35
  • Australia v Argentina, old Coast Queensland 12:05
27 September 2014
  • Argentina v New Zealand, La Plata 00:10
  • South Africa v Australia, Cape Town 17:05

Logs

Rank Team P W Pts

Results

23 August 2014
16 August 2014
28 June 2014
21 June 2014
14 June 2014
07 June 2014
23 November 2013
17 November 2013
09 November 2013
05 October 2013
28 September 2013
14 September 2013
07 September 2013
24 August 2013
17 August 2013
22 June 2013
15 June 2013
08 June 2013

Opinion Poll

After 4 rounds of this year's Absa Currie Cup, who's your favourite for the title?

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