Cape Town - New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has criticised All Black scrumhalf Aaron Smith's behaviour following an incident with a woman in an airport toilet.
Smith was sent home from South Africa on Thursday after news of the incident broke.
Smith was seen entering a disabled toilet cubicle with a woman at Christchurch Airport the day after the All Blacks’ Test against South Africa in Christchurch last month.
Key told the Stuff.co.nz website that Smith “clearly let himself and those that are close to him down."
"I suspect he'll be sitting back, reflecting on the fact he's let himself down, he's let the team down, he's an integral part of the All Blacks so he won't want to be sitting on the sidelines, and frankly, he's embarrassed himself a bit,” the Prime Minister continued.
"They do a lot to try and prove to young New Zealanders that they're the sort of people to look up to - that's why I think Aaron will feel pretty disappointed in himself.
"I think the rugby union, coming off the back of a couple of other pretty poor PR issues in recent times, will want to make sure they send a strong message to the All Blacks that they have a high level of expectation in their behaviour."
In a statement released on the All Blacks’ official website, New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said: “This was really bad decision-making by Aaron which reflects poorly on him, and on the team.”
Smith will face a misconduct hearing on his return to New Zealand.
“He has failed to meet the standards that New Zealand Rugby and the public expect of our players.
“We are taking action to improve the culture of our game and are about to embark on an independent review of respect and responsibility in our professional player environment. We have drafted the terms of reference and are currently talking to prospective panel members. We will provide an update on this shortly.”