Rugby: Heart rules out sevens for Smith

Ben Smith.
Ben Smith.
Ben Smith says in the end his heart was with the Highlanders and he decided to turn his back on a chance to win Olympic gold.

All Black coach Steve Hansen revealed over the weekend a proposal had been put forward to allow Smith to enter the national sevens camp late but it had been turned down by sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens.

Smith said on radio yesterday he went with the Highlanders as he knew that was where he wanted to be.

All Black coach Steve Hansen had never pressured him to not go to sevens but he wanted to stay with the Highlanders, "I was in a tough position. I did want to have a go at the sevens but also wanted to be part of the Highlanders ... it's a tough job to do both,'' Smith said.

"It was a massive decision at the time. There are always going to be tough decisions so you just make it and get on with things. The Highlanders have worked really hard to get where we've got to and I want to continue on and be part of that.''

Smith said part of his decision involved wanting to have time with his family and get maximum rest, rather than play the sevens tournaments in late January and early February.

He also didn't want to suit up for the Highlanders and then have to quit them come playoffs time.

"At the end of the day, I wanted to be committed to one cause and to me that was the Highlanders. There was no pressure from anywhere else,'' he said.

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