Smith happy to stay home, looking forward to NPC

Aaron Smith is waiting for the birth of his second child and will turn out for the Turbos in the...
Aaron Smith is waiting for the birth of his second child and will turn out for the Turbos in the NPC competition. Photo: ODT files
All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith won't be joining the squad in  Australia for the Rugby Championship.

The 32-year-old Highlander has stayed in New Zealand to be with his family awaiting the birth of his second child.

He will join his Manawatu Turbos team this week to train and play in the NPC this season.

Smith said he was excited about playing for the Turbos and can't wait to get back on the field.

“There’s a silver lining here about not being with the All Blacks. I'm only five games short of 50 for the Turbos and excited about hopefully making that milestone.”

Smith said the increasing unlikelihood of getting a spot in managed isolation and quarantine to return to New Zealand for the birth was the reason for staying home.

The baby isn't due until November, but Smith said he didn't want to risk not being there.

“The door isn't completely closed to me joining the team for the Northern  (hemisphere) Tour if our baby comes early.  In this environment anything can happen, so I've got an open mind. 

"At the moment though, I just want to focus on being here with my family and enjoying that time and playing for Manawatu. 

"I can't wait to get the boots on again.”

Smith is one of three All Blacks opting to miss some of the Rugby Championship due to new babies arriving.

Sam Whitelock last week announced that he wouldn't be crossing the Tasman either, as his wife is expecting their third child.

New Zealand Rugby was only granted an exemption for the big lock to quarantine in Queensland late on Friday, with his flight delayed until today.

NZR believe the timing of Whitelock's arrival would not give him enough time after two weeks' quarantine to safely prepare to play against South Africa on October 2.

He will rejoin the All Blacks for their northern hemisphere tour.

However, All Blacks first-five Richie Mo'unga will fly to Queensland today and be available to play the Springboks.

Mo'unga didn't travel with the the All Blacks to Australia last month as he also was  on paternity leave.

- ODT Online and RNZ 

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