Cape Town - According to reports out of France, star fullback Ben Smith is set to reject a blockbuster move to the Top 14 in order to stay and play for the All Blacks.
All Blacks No 15 has been linked with a move to Pau in France, and
figures approaching $2 million per season were being talked about as a
But, according to the Stuff website, French rugby paper Midi Olympique has
reported that Smith will not be joining Pau, as the lure of All Blacks
rugby and the Lions series proves too strong.
Keeping Smith in New Zealand would be a massive win for New Zealand
Rugby, who have lost flyhalf Aaron Cruden to Montpellier after this season.
Cruden, Smith and
Israel Dagg were the big question marks for New Zealand Rugby, with all
three out of contract at the end of 2017.
At time of writing Dagg's future remains unclear.
Smith will represent the Highlanders in this year's Super Rugby tournament, with the 2015 champions opening their campaign against the Chiefs in Dunedin on Friday, February 24 at 08:35 (SA time).
The All Blacks will face the British and Irish Lions in a three-Test series, starting in Auckland on June 24.