All Blacks scrum-half Smith out of Rugby Championship

Wellington (AFP) –


All Blacks scrum-half Aaron Smith confirmed Wednesday he will miss the rest of the Rugby Championship and is in doubt for the team's northern hemisphere tour as he awaits the birth of his second child.

The 101-Test veteran played New Zealand's two opening Championship fixtures in Auckland but did not travel to Australia for the rest of the tournament.

Smith said he would remain in New Zealand because he did not want to be stranded in Australia for the baby's birth, due in November.

Under New Zealand's strict Covid-19 border controls, overseas arrivals must complete two weeks in quarantine and Smith said it was unlikely could book a spot at short notice.

It means he will miss New Zealand's three remaining Championship matches, one against Argentina and two against South Africa.

The All Blacks will then go to the United States and Europe on a tour that includes Tests in Wales, Ireland and France.

"The door isn't completely closed to me joining the team for the northern tour if our baby comes early," Smith said.

"In this environment anything can happen so I've got an open mind."

Smith said that while in New Zealand he would play for the Manawatu Turbos in the domestic NPC competition.