Smith to remain with Highlanders until 2023

The Highlanders have back-up plans if the Australian teams cannot enter New Zealand for Super...
Aaron Smith is set to remain in Highlanders colours for another two years. Photo: Getty Images
Aaron Smith has signed with the Highlanders for another two years.

The All Black halfback has confirmed he will remain in New Zealand with the Highlanders and Manawatu through until 2023.

The 32-year-old debuted for the Highlanders in 2011 and played his 151st game for the team last Friday.

He has also played 97 tests for the All Blacks.

Smith said there were several reasons for his decision to remain in the south.

“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.

“Dunedin has been good to me. My wife Teagan and I have a home and a business here and our son Luka was born here.  I felt that committing to the Highlanders for another few years in some small way says thanks for all the support we have enjoyed over the years.”

Smith said he was also looking forward to what the future held for the All Blacks.

“Last year was a tough one for sport, but hopefully we’ll soon see the world rugby calendar start to take shape and there’ll be plenty of exciting, new challenges to look forward to.”

Highlanders coach Tony Brown is also delighted to have his star halfback recommit to the team for the next few years.

“As co-captain, ‘Nug’ is a huge part of this team. His leadership, commitment, drive and skill are all key aspects of his contribution to the Highlanders. He continues to be world class and works extremely hard to maintain it. That hard work and professionalism is a fantastic example to the rest of the team, particularly the young fellows coming into the team.”

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