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.

Surfer escapes life-threatening injury

Wategos Beach, Byron Bay.

Rescue chopper called off after surfing accident

Learning from the masters

SHOTOKAN INSTRUCTORS: George Rhodes, 72, chief instructor Jean Boussard, Ben Ruble, Jason Miles and Fabio Quijano.

Free martial arts seminar this weekend in Byron Bay

Aussies Helping Animals deliver hope for horses

HORSE RESCUE: Skyla Critchlow, Jack Sadler, Tesse Ferguson from Byron Bay Equestrian Centre, Sky Bright, Constance Attard founder of Aussies Helping Animals, Marion Mawby, Asha Lee-Winton, Adam Mawby and Nemisis. Both Sky Bright and Nemesis were rescued horses.

NEW animal charity makes its first grant to local horse rescue group

Local Partners

Byron Public is chalking up a major milestone

Who is the oldest living ex-pupil from Byron Public? The school celebrates its 125th anniversary this September and wants you to be part of the celebration.

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.

Messing with your head

MIND BLOWN: What could be weirder than the realisation that we have another completely separate brain and nervous system than the one originating in our heads?

Fascinating connection between your gut and your brain

Sir Elton John coming to Mackay: What you need to know

Sir Elton will come to Mackay and Cairns in September.

Tickets to the concert go on sale on March 14

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

Bride and Prejudice: 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

Furious Price wants to quit I'm a Celeb after clash with Keira

Steve Price has threatened to quit the jungle.

Will camp ration clash with Keira cause Steve to call it quits?

Novel with lots of heart

The romance in A Quiet Kind of Thunder was only one of the joys of the book.

Book proves to be a gem with layers

Bliss N Eso announce tribute show for stuntman

Bliss N Eso will play a tribute show at Coolangatta in honour of Johann Ofner. The stuntman died during the filming of the group's Friend Like You film clip earlier this year.

BLISS N Eso to play tribute show to raise funds for killed stuntman

$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!