Pulu replaces Smith in All Blacks squad

Date published: October 18 2016

Counties Manukau scrum-half Augustine Pulu has been called up to the All Blacks squad to replace Aaron Smith for Saturday's Test against the Wallabies in Auckland.

Smith stood himself down from the third Bledisloe Test this weekend after a two-hour disciplinary hearing with New Zealand Rugby on Monday.

NZ Rugby gave Smith a formal warning on Monday, concluding his actions amounted to serious misconduct.

The 27-year-old also agreed to forfeit his playing wages for Saturday's game.

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said although Pulu had been drafted in as a replacement, he was unlikely to make the matchday squad for Saturday's Test as TJ Perenara and Tawera Kerr-Barlow would most likely be selected as the two scrum-halves.

Foster said the All Blacks would not be resting their key players this weekend especially after they did that during their recent tour to Argentina and South Africa, and the team has also had an extended break since their last Rugby Championship match against the Springboks in Durban on October 8.

"We think we reaped the rewards from that," he said.

"Today is about assessing the energy levels and where everyone is at mentally and physically, and making sure guys we pick are 100 per cent for Saturday. But after this extended break we're expecting everyone to be on top of their game."