Sport

Smith should play against Wallabies, says Mexted

New Zealand rugby union player Aaron Smith.
New Zealand rugby union player Aaron Smith. PAUL MILLER

RUGBY: Former All Black Murray Mexted is adamant that under-fire halfback Aaron Smith should be named in the side to face Australia in the upcoming Bledisloe Cup test at Eden Park on Saturday.

Smith was sent home from the All Blacks' South African leg of the Rugby Championship after it was revealed the 27-year-old had an encounter with a female at a Christchurch Airport toilet the day after the Tst against the Springboks in Christchurch last month.

Speaking on New Zealand radio station Radio Sport, Mexted said he thought Smith "definitely should be playing” against the Wallabies in the dead-rubber Bledisloe Cup clash this weekend, where the All Blacks will look to set a new world record of 18 for the most consecutive wins.

"He's made a public mistake,” Mexted said.

"He's the best halfback in the world, and has been for a long time.

"He's a professional, and he absolutely should play. No hesitation in my mind at all.”

When asked about Smith's desire to play for the national side this weekend following the controversy that he has immersed himself in over the past week and a half, Mexted, who played in 34 consecutive tests for the All Blacks between 1979 and 1985, held a firm belief that Smith's desire to play this weekend should not be undervalued.

"He's a rugby player, he's a professional rugby player,” he said.

"Of course he wants to get out there and play. Once again, it's pretty clear in my head, it's not a debating subject, really.”

Mexted also stated that Smith would have no issue integrating back into the side, referring to the ease in which his former teammates Graham Mourie and Bruce Robertson slotted back into the All Blacks after they withdrew themselves from the squad to face the Springboks in their hugely controversial tour of New Zealand in 1981.

"He will integrate smoothly back in.

"I remember that (Mourie and Robertson's withdrawal from the 1981 squad), I was in that team... It was all very low key though, they just said they weren't available.

"Both of them played again for the All Blacks, and both of them played really well for the All Blacks.

"In 1982, Mourie was back again, and we toured Australia, I think, and Bruce Robertson came over as a replacement.

"There was no issue. You're a professional team, and provided it's not an action against the team, then I don't think there's any problem with integration.

"This is an off-field incident that had nothing to do with the team, so I don't see an issue.”

There has been speculation over who will start at halfback for the All Blacks come Saturday's test, with Aaron Smith tipped by many to make his All Blacks return, while TJ Perenara has excelled in the starting halfback role in Smith's absence.

The All Blacks team to face the Wallabies at Eden Park is expected to be announced on Thursday.

- NZ HERALD

Topics:  aaron smith all blacks bledisloe cup murray mexted rugby championship wallabies


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Ballina koalas faced with extinction

Ballina's koalas are under threat.

About 36,000 koalas left in NSW face an uncertain future

An emotional Mike Baird: 'There was great personal cost'

"After 10 years in public life, this moment for me has arrived."

Surfer calls for second shark net off one coastal town

SIGNS OF SUPPORT: Young protesters make their opinions clear at a rally in support of shark nets at Ballina last November. More than 500 people attended the event calling for the immediate installation of the nets. PHOTO: ALINA RYLKO/ THE NORTHERN STAR

Kids surfing near the Lennox Hotel are at risk of shark encounters

Local Partners

41-year-old playgroup under threat of closing down

IT'S been an important part of the Ballina community for decades, but this playgroup could be forced to shut its doors.

See turtles up close on rescue centre tour

SPLASH: This green sea turtle, held by Australian Seabird Rescue general manager Kath Southwell, splashed some of the children on a tour of seabird rescue's headquarters.

The turtles don't mind giving the tour groups a splash, too

Shrek on stage

POPULAR MUSICAL: Shrek (River Fullagar) interrupts the wedding, shocking Fiona (Hillary Goodsell), the Bishop (Grace Pateman) and a furious Farquaad (Lachlan McGeary) in the Ballina Players' latest production.

The best-known green ogre is the star in Ballina Players production

Humble Cortina expected to shine at show

BOYS TOYS: Members of the North Coast Street Machines (from left) Errol Beaumont, Steven Fitness, Les Eckersley and John Stanford are ready for this Sunday's show and shine in Ballina, with their vehicles (from left) 1964 EH Holden, 1962 S Series Valiant, 1934 Ford, 1969 XW GT Falcon and a 1974 L Cortina.

There aren't many who can say they own thefirst car they bought

Naomie Harris in the dark over Daniel Craig's future as 007

Naomie Harris has no idea if Daniel Craig will be returning as 007

REVIEW: Will Kasey Chambers' Dragonfly take off with fans?

Kasey Chambers’ new album Dragonfly gets 3.5 stars from Cameron Adams.

CHAMBERS is back with her 11th studio album.

Ed Sheeran wants Beyonce collaboration

Ed Sheeran wants to record a duet with Beyoncé.

Nicole Kidman squirms through questions on Keith

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban

'God, you guys are personal ... that’s for him to talk about'

Mark Salling's child porn court date cancelled

Mark Salling's upcoming court hearing has been cancelled

Steve Carell pulls cruel prank on fans of the office

Steve Carrell decided to pull a cruel prank on fans of The Office

Thousands of jobs part of $1b retirement village project

THIS YEAR: An artist impression of the new Aveo retirement village in Springfield.

Aveo Springfield unveiled this month, homes ready by July

KNIFE-EDGE: The housing tightrope we now face

Even the smallest interest rate rise will be hard for some to handle.

One if five home owners at risk, according to new analysis

Historical home leaves family's hands after 75 years

SALE CONFIRMED: The Gympie Regional   Realty team which sold the Ramsey property are (back) Mel Gastigar, Dorothy Palmer and Margaret Cochrane, with (front) home seller Terri-Jayne Ramsey.

Ramsey family played a huge role in Gympie's growth.

Pat Rafter's $18m Coast home proves hot property

PAT'S PAD: The Sunshine Beach home of tennis ace Pat rafter is on the market for a record price.

"It's a record for our company and for the Sunshine Coast.''

INTERACTIVE MAP: Which Northern Rivers towns boomed in 2016?

BOOM TOWNS: While Ballina properties continued to attract top dollar in 2016, it was areas to the south that experienced price hikes, including Wardell, Evans Head and Woodburn.

Click on our map to find the median sale price in your town

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!