All Black Aaron Smith back on form after "airport incident"

He opened up to the media at the weekend

All Black Aaron Smith back on form after "airport incident"

New Zealand's Aaron Smith. Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

New Zealand's Aaron Smith has opened up about the Christchurch "airport incident" before a flight to South Africa last year which saw him sent home from the All Black touring squad.

The incident involving a woman affected his career and his family life and the All Black admits he received counselling in a bid to return to form.

Speaking to the media at the weekend, he said: "It was a huge mistake by me, obviously, just the effects it had on me mentally - it really affected me and my performance. The way it hurt my family and my partner and myself, obviously, it was just a really tough time.

"I probably should have put rugby on the back-burner then and focused on myself and my family, but we're passed that, I've learned a lot from it and I think a lot of positives have come from that incident for me, personally, on the field and off-field. I'm just really excited about this year and I think it's finally coming out in my game.

"I've had heaps of help. I've done a lot of counselling and sought out the right people. But also from incidents like that you learn who your real friends are. It puts everything in perspective. As I've said, a lot of positives have come from it for me. I'm feeling really good in my life and with my family and hoping I can turn a page on that."

The scrum half endured a poor November series in the northern hemishpere including starting New Zealand's first ever loss to Ireland when the teams met in Chicago.

His duel with TJ Perenara for the starting spot during the Lions series is sure to be one of the highlights as the Super Rugby season progresses.