New Zealand's Arron Smith sent home from South Africa over airport incident

The All Blacks scrum-half was in Durban with the team

New Zealand's Arron Smith sent home from South Africa over airport incident

Aaron Smith Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

New Zealand scrum-half Aaron Smith has been sent home from New Zealand's Rugby Championship game with South Africa for failing "to meet the standards that New Zealand Rugby and the public expect of [their] players".

The 27-year-old, who was part of the World Cup-winning team last year entered a public toilet in Christchurch Airport with a woman, last month, but the incident was only made public in recent days. It then emerged that the woman in question was not Smith's partner.

"This was really bad decision-making by Aaron which reflects poorly on him, and on the team", New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said.

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen added; "He feels he has let the team, his family and his partner down... He has asked to go home to deal with the personal matters that have come with this incident and we are happy to support him with that."

An emotional Smith spoke to media in Durban Airport before returning to New Zealand and apologised for what he did.

"I've made a huge mistake, a huge error in judgement. I'd firstly like to say a huge sorry to my partner Teagan, her family, my family", a teary Smith said.

The Highlanders scrum-half has started four of New Zealand's first five games in the tournament. TJ Perenara, who started the team's last game against Argentina, keeps his place in the first fifteen for this weekend's game.