Aaron Smith (rugby union)

Aaron Luke Smith (born 21 November 1988) is a rugby union player who plays for New Zealand, the All Blacks, in international rugby. He plays at scrum-half in the team and is the most-capped scrum-half to ever play for New Zealand.

Aaron Smith
Aaron Smith 2017 (cropped).jpg
Smith at the Government House in Auckland, September 2017
Full nameAaron Luke Smith
Date of birth (1988-11-21) 21 November 1988 (age 31)
Place of birthPalmerston North, New Zealand
Height171 cm (5 ft 7 in)
Weight83 kg (183 lb; 13 st 1 lb)
SchoolFeilding High School
Rugby union career
Position(s) Half-back
Current team Manawatu, Highlanders
All Black No. 1112
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2008– Manawatu 43 (45)
2011– Highlanders 150 (145)
Correct as of 5 September 2020
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2008 New Zealand U20 5 (0)
2010 New Zealand Māori 3 (0)
2012– New Zealand 92 (97)
2020 North Island 1 (5)
Correct as of 5 September 2020

Smith played for the Māori All Blacks in 2010, and was first selected for the All Blacks in 2012.[1] He was a key member of the 2015 Rugby World Cup winning team.

He also plays for the Highlanders in Super Rugby where he is the club's all time leader in caps, and for Manawatu in the ITM Cup.

Playing careerEdit

Provincial rugbyEdit

Smith made his debut for Manawatu in the 2008 Air New Zealand Cup at the age of 19, making several substitute appearances for the Turbos. This included the historic 25–24 win over Canterbury in Round 1 and the 38–38 draw with Waikato in Round 3.[2][3][4]

For the 2009 Air New Zealand Cup, Smith established himself as the first-choice half-back for Manawatu, starting all 13 games over the course of the season and scoring his first representative try.[5] He continued as the starter in the 2010 ITM Cup, and established himself as one of the top half-backs in the competition and earning a Super Rugby contract.[6][7][citation needed]

In the 2011 ITM Cup, Smith continued to improve and had a successful season, scoring five tries helping the improved Manawatu squad which reached the Championship final.[citation needed]

Super RugbyEdit

Aaron Smith playing for the Highlanders

Smith was included in the Blues wider training group for the 2010 Super 14 season, but did not see any game action for the Auckland-based side.[8]

For the 2011 Super Rugby season, Smith signed for the Highlanders, coached by Jamie Joseph, who had previously coached Smith with the New Zealand Māori. Smith had a successful debut season, beating out Sean Romans for the job as backup to starting half-back (and All Black) Jimmy Cowan, and made 12 appearances including 3 starts.

International careerEdit

On the back of his strong performances for Manawatu, Smith, of Ngāti Kahungunu descent, was selected to the New Zealand Māori for their 2010 Centenary Series.[1][8][9] He came on as a substitute against the New Zealand Barbarians after Chris Smylie suffered a fractured cheekbone, and started in the squad's historic victories over Ireland and England.[10][11]

On the back of a successful Highlanders season Smith made his All Blacks debut on 9 June 2012, against Ireland.[12] By the time of the 2013 season Smith had become the first choice halfback for the national team.

Smith has been selected for every New Zealand squad since 2013, including the 2015 Rugby World Cup squad where he started in all the knockout games. Smith became the leader of the All Blacks' haka in 2016, following the retirement of Keven Mealamu and Liam Messam's decision to swap to New Zealand's rugby 7s squad, first leading the Haka against Wales at Eden Park.

Smith played his 50th international test match in the final test against Wales, during the 2016 tour, alongside lock Brodie Retallick, with whom he debuted. Although Smith lost his place as the All Blacks' Haka leader later in the season due to off-field controversy,[13] as well as strong competition for a starting place, from TJ Perenara, Smith was retained as a regular starter into the 2017 season, when he started in all three tests against the touring British and Irish Lions.

Smith became the most-capped scrum-half in New Zealand's history in the 2018 season, breaking Justin Marshall's long-standing record on 17 November 2018. [14] Despite the ongoing competition for his starting place through TJ Perenara, Smith was chosen to start against Ireland. Smith, during his record-breaking performance, unfortunately failed to perform well, with the All Blacks losing 9-16.


All Blacks


Super Rugby 2015


  1. ^ a b Knowler, Richard (16 June 2012). "The rise of All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith". Fairfax New Zealand. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Turbos 2008 Air New Zealand Cup Squad Named". www.manawaturugby.co.nz. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  3. ^ "Manawatu stuns Canterbury in upset". itmcup.co.nz. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Turbos comeback leads to draw". itmcup.co.nz. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  5. ^ "2009 Manawatu Turbos Air New Zealand Squad". www.manawaturugby.co.nz. Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  6. ^ "Final details on the 2009 Air New Zealand Cup squads". itmcup.co.nz. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  7. ^ "Player Profile: Aaron Smith, The Highlanders". thehighlanders.co.nz. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  8. ^ a b Knowler, Richard (23 June 2012). "Diminutive halves the pride of Manawatu". Fairfax New Zealand. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
  9. ^ "NZ Maori team to play England named". allblacks.com. 21 June 2010. Archived from the original on 22 April 2014. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  10. ^ "New Zealand Maori 31–28 Ireland". BBC. 18 June 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
  11. ^ "New Zealand Maori 35–28 England". BBC. 23 June 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
  12. ^ Robson, Toby (11 June 2012). "Young guns at home in All Blacks side". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  13. ^ "Full witness account of Aaron Smith's airport bathroom toilet incident". Stuff. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  14. ^ "Justin Marshall pays tribute to Aaron Smith, who wil become the most capped All Blacks' No.9 against Ireland". TVNZ. 15 November 2018. Retrieved 7 December 2018.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Liam Messam
Tom French Memorial
Māori rugby union player of the year

Succeeded by
Nehe Milner-Skudder