All Blacks coach Hansen brushes off Smith allegations
SYDNEY (Reuters) – All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has brushed off allegations in the Australian media that scrumhalf Aaron Smith had misled team management over a toilet tryst with a woman last year.
Smith was suspended for one test, voluntarily stood down for another and received an official warning from New Zealand Rugby last October following revelations of the liaison in a disabled toilet at Christchurch Airport.
Daily Mail Australia on Thursday published what it said were messages between the unnamed woman and Smith which they said proved he had misled All Blacks management as to the nature of their relationship.
“We dealt with this last year,” Hansen told a news conference on Thursday. “We dealt with it decisively, there’s nothing more I can add to that, but if there is anything more to say it will come from the New Zealand Rugby Union.”
Hansen said he was confident the allegations would have no impact on Smith, who was named to start Saturday’s opening Rugby Championship test against Australia.
“He’s in a great space in that he knows he’s dealt with this issue and done the things he needed to do around this,” Hansen added. “He’s ready to play, he’s excited to play.”
Daily Mail Australia later said their reporter had been excluded from the press conference because he did not have accreditation.