Aaron Smith dropped from New Zealand team after Dublin yellow card

The scrum-half has struggled for form in recent weeks

Aaron Smith dropped from New Zealand team after Dublin yellow card

New Zealand’s Aaron Smith Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Scrum-half Aaron Smith is the most high-profile casualty from the New Zealand team to play France this weekend in Paris.

Having been sin-binned last week in Dublin, Smith has been dropped to the bench and has been replaced by TJ Perenara. The Hurricanes scrum-half will earn his 29th cap.

The team sees five changes to the one that beat Ireland, but Smith's omission is the only one made due to form, as players such as Jerome Kaino and Ryan Crotty return from injury.

Smith has struggled on New Zealand's Autumn tour since being sent home from a Rugby Championship game against South Africa. He also missed a subsequent game against Australia.

The World Cup-winning number 9 was sent home for an incident involving himself and an unnamed women in a public toilet in Christchurch Airport as the team were preparing to travel to a game.

After he was sent home, New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen said; "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."

The move could signal Perenara as the first-choice number 9 for 2017, which includes a three-test series against the Lions.