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All Blacks dump Smith after breaking team rules

Date
Aaron Smith (R) at All Blacks training this week.

Aaron Smith (R) at All Blacks training this week. Photo: Getty Images

Aaron Smith has broken team protocol and has been relegated to the reserves for the All Blacks' Rugby Championship Test against South Africa in Dunedin on Saturday night.

Smith had started at halfback in all six previous Tests this season and his indiscretion gives Piri Weepu his first start since last year's Rugby World Cup.

All Blacks' coach Steve Hansen made no apology for the decision to demote Smith.

He said there was a strong focus on recovery after Test matches and Smith had breached protocol after the match against Argentina in Wellington last weekend.

"Protocols are non-negotiable and the consequences are you don't start in the playing 15 if you break them."

Hansen said it was irrelevant to speculate whether Smith would have started had he not broken protocol.

"He broke them so we don't need to go there. The other fellow (Weepu) played pretty well last weekend as well. We're very fortunate we've got two good halfbacks."

Hansen declined to specify Smith's offence but replied "no" when asked whether alcohol was a factor.

The return of Weepu, who will be playing his 63rd Test, is one of four changes to the All Blacks' starting line-up.

The others are in the forwards where Liam Messam slots in at blindside flanker in place of Victor Vito, lock Sam Whitelock comes in for Brodie Retallick and Andrew Hore starts at hooker instead of Keven Mealamu.

There is also a change in the back reserves where Highlander Tamati Ellison replaces teammate Ben Smith because of his ability to cover second five-eighth in the absence of Dan Carter.

Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer believes the conditions provided by Dunedin's covered stadium could produce a potential try-fest and it may be more of an advantage to the home side.

But while he has stuck with a conservative-looking line-up for the match, he says his own players are looking forward to a dry surface.

"It's the same for both teams, but I think it suits their game probably more," he said.

"But we also play great rugby at the high veldt, where it's dry, so I think it's going to be a quick game with probably a lot of tries."

There are two changes from the side that lost to Australia in Perth last weekend, both in the forwards.

Second-rower Flip van der Merwe replaces the suspended Eben Etzebeth while Francois Louw comes in for Marcell Coetzee at openside flanker.

The Test will be the first at Forsyth Barr Stadium for both the All Blacks and the Springboks.

The teams last met in Dunedin in 2008, when South Africa finally broke their duck at the old Carisbrook ground after 87 years of trying.

The win was secured by an individual piece of magic from halfback Enrico Januarie, whose solo try was converted by Francois Steyn to take the visitors to a decisive 30-28 victory.

All Blacks: Israel Dagg, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea, Aaron Cruden, Piri Weepu, Kieran Read, Richie McCaw (captain), Liam Messam, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock. Reserves: Tamati Ellison, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Victor Vito, Brodie Retallick, Charlie Faumuina, Keven Mealamu.

Springboks: Zane Kirchner, Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers (capt), Frans Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Morne Steyn, Ruan Pienaar, Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Juandre Kruger, Flip van der Merwe, Jannie du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Tiaan Liebenberg, Dean Greyling, Andries Bekker, Marcell Coetzee, Johan Goosen, Juan de Jongh, Pat Lambie.

AAP

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
 
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