Shock All Blacks call-up for scrum-half Aaron Smith

Planet Rugby

New Zealand have called up experienced scrum-half Aaron Smith to their Autumn Nations Series squad ahead of games against Ireland and France.

In a sizeable boost, the Highlanders veteran has answered an SOS call after Brad Weber was injured in the 47-9 win over Italy in Rome last Saturday.

Smith was not expected to feature for his country in Europe after the recent birth of his second child, but Weber’s injury has led to a change of plan.

“I’m very excited to come back and join the boys,” he said in a video posted by the All Blacks, with New Zealand preparing to face Ireland in Dublin.

Very big games

“Two very big games for the lads, which is really exciting to be part of. I’m just looking to try and help where I can, and bring a bit of energy.

“The boys have done so well and it was great to be a fan from afar, but deep down knowing I’d love to be there as well.

“Since my boy [Leo] has arrived, Teagan was all for it. It was a pretty short conversation. She was like, ‘Go, this is a great opportunity for you’.

“I’m going in with no expectations of playing, but I’ll be trying to do my best to impact where I can. Little Leo is fit and healthy…it was pretty tough this morning at 4:45 this morning, saying my goodbyes, but I’m feeling grateful to Teagan.”

Smith is expected to arrive in Dublin in “midweek” and it remains to be seen whether he’ll feature in the matchday 23 for the Aviva Stadium clash.