Halfback Aaron Smith has announced that he has signed a new contract with New Zealand Rugby (NZR), his Highlanders club and Manawatu provincial union that will see him stay in New Zealand through until 2023.
32-year-old Smith played his 151st game for the Highlanders on the weekend and is the most capped All Black halfback of all time (97 Tests). He made his provincial debut for Manawatu in 2008, Super Rugby debut in 2011 and Test debut a year later, has been the first-choice halfback for both teams since then, and remains at the top of his game.
“I guess I have to adapt and work a little harder than I did back in 2011, but one thing that hasn’t changed is my love for the Highlanders, the All Blacks and Manawatu,” Smith said.
“The decision to stay is based on a number of things, but I’m very keen to see the Highlanders do well, we have a good environment here and some great, young players so I think the next few years will be exciting for us and it’ll be great to be part of it.” said Smith.
Smith is set to become the Highlanders’ most capped player this season surpassing his namesake Ben Smith (153 caps). He also has the chance to bring up 100 Tests for the All Blacks this year.