Rugby Championship

Smith escapes with warning over toilet tryst

Aaron Smith (Getty Images)
Aaron Smith (Getty Images)

Wellington - All Blacks scrumhalf Aaron Smith has escaped with a formal warning for "inconsistencies" in his claims about what happened during his highly publicised airport toilet tryst, New Zealand Rugby bosses said on Saturday.

It is the second warning Smith has received since he was caught emerging with a woman from a toilet cubicle at a busy Christchurch airport as the All Blacks prepared to fly to South Africa in August last year.

The 68-Test scrumhalf was initially warned for "serious misconduct" after an investigation in which he was said to have been "genuine, honest and incredibly remorseful".

But the inquiry was reopened this year when the woman at the centre of the affair claimed Smith offered her money to lie in a legal affidavit that they did not have sex in the toilet.

The woman told reporters she had been involved in an affair with Smith for two years after the player had said it was a "one-off incident".

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said its latest investigation concluded "there were some inconsistencies" between Smith's account at the time and the later information but "this did not have any material impact on the outcome of the original hearing".

"Being honest, particularly in a disciplinary proceeding, is critically important for any employer and that is certainly the case with NZR," NZR chief executive Steve Tew said.

"To reinforce this point, we have issued Aaron Smith with a formal written warning."

Tew said NZR considered the matter now closed and would not be making any further comment.

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