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.

A splash of cash for community

CASH AVAILABLE: At the launch of the ETC community fund's grants are (from left) ETC chair Rod McKelvey and previous recipients from the House With No Steps, local initiatives co-ordinator Tori Smith and area manager Tina Purdon.

$120,000 up for grabs for community groups

Rainbow club shines at Gold Coast regatta

Rainbow Region Dragon Boat Club at the Gold Coast's Broadwater regatta.

Teams battled it out in blistering heat

FORECAST: Perfect storm for a lazy weekend

Rain is on the way on the Northern Rivers.

Much needed heat relief expected to continue

Local Partners

Former Family Matters stare accused of child abuse

DARIUS McCrary, who played Eddie Winslow on the ’90s sitcom Family Matters, has been accused of holding his infant daughter over a pot of boiling water.

Bindi Irwin's birthday tribute to her dad

Bindi Irwin

Bindi Irwin has paid tribute to her dad on his 55th birthday

Reality TV show gives Maryborough a boost

*WARNING EMBARGOED until 9.15pm Monday January 30* Sean Hollands and Susan Rawlings pictured after their wedding on the TV series Married At First Sight. Supplied by Channel 9.

Maryborough looks good on reality TV show.

Buderim dad rejects gay son's emotional plea for second time

LOVERS: Grant and Chris have been together for more than three years, and Chris' parents refuse to acknowledge their son's fiance.

Son’s emotional plea rejected again by unmoved father

What's on the big screen this week

Ewan McGregor and Jonny Lee Miller in a scene from the movie T2: Trainspotting.

This week's new releases offer plenty of variety for movie buffs.

REVIEW: Under the Gun doco looks at right to bear arms

ARMED: A still from the 2016 documentary film Under the Gun by Stephanie Soechtig.

An in-depth look into America's gun culture.

Hodges proud to be part of first channel dedicated to NRL

Justin Hodges is gearing up for his new gig on Fox League.

Footy star hopes to provide a voice for players on new NRL channel

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Popular island resort sells to loaded international investor

OUR PICK: Chris Foey's colourful shot of one of Gladstone's great tourism hot spots, Heron Island.

International investor snaps up piece of Gladstone paradise.

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!