New Zealand Rugby are to reopen the investigation into the Aaron Smith scandal which led to the scrum-half being suspended by the All Blacks last October.
Smith was seen to enter a toilet cubicle at Christchurch airport last year with a woman who was not his partner which led to an emotional Smith apologising “for a huge error of judgement”. Smith returned to play for the All Blacks last November.
The matter had seemed to be dealt with until the Daily Mail Australia recently published alleged text messages between Smith and the woman at the centre of the controversy. The text messages suggest that Smith did not fully disclose all the relevant information in the original disciplinary case.
As a result, the NZR have decided to “investigate the matter further” as revealed in a statement released earlier:
“Based on information published today [Thursday] New Zealand Rugby believes that it needs to investigate the Aaron Smith matter further and has instructed an independent lawyer to do so,” an NZR statement read.
“Until those enquiries are complete we will not be making any further statements to the media. It is effectively an employment issue that requires investigation.”
Steve Hansen was asked about the revelations at the All Blacks’ press conference and he refused to get drawn on the matter.
“Obviously the incident happened last year,” Hansen said. “We dealt with it and we feel that we dealt with it decisively.
“There’s nothing more that I can add to that but if it … needs to be spoken about it will come from the New Zealand Rugby Union – [chief executive] Steve Tew.”
The All Blacks face off against the Wallabies on Saturday morning in the opening fixture of this year’s Rugby Championship.