Aaron Smith looking forward to linking up with former All Black

Halfback Aaron Smith won’t feature for New Zealand during the Rugby Championship – but that doesn’t mean he won’t continue to play alongside an All Blacks No 10 this year.

The All Blacks revealed on Wednesday that the 32-year-old halfback will remain in NZ for the remainder of the competition due to the impending arrival of his second child. There’s a small chance that Smith could join the squad for their northern tour, but the safer bet would be that his test season is done and dusted for the year.

Smith will, however, continue to take the field, and has linked up with Manawatu for the remainder of New Zealand’s provincial season.

The fast-firing halfback admitted that he’d experienced some wistfulness watching the All Blacks play in Perth two weekend’s ago but that his return to the Turbos should quickly offset that feeling.

“I’m sitting at home doing all these trainings but training with no one,” Smith told media on Wednesday. “You go from being in an environment every day with 30 guys, being in the gym together, being on the field, [you miss] that kind of stuff, the locker room stuff.

“I’m sick of training by myself, at a park. There’s nothing but that. It’s fun for a little bit but I’m missing that and can’t wait to play again, prepare for a game. I love getting ready for games.”

As soon as Smith knew that he was likely to be in New Zealand for the NPC, he reached out Manawatu coach Peter Russell to offer his services. It was in some ways a strange conversation for the halfback, being unsure how keen Russell was to bring him in on a potentially temporary basis.