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New Zealand tour 2012 / News
Rugby Championship
Smith dumped by All Blacks team-mates
ESPN Staff
September 14, 2012
The Highlanders' Aaron Smith dives over the line, Highlanders v Waratahs, Super Rugby, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand, March 10, 2012
Aaron Smith has been named as a replacement for Saturday's Test © Getty Images
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The decision to drop Aaron Smith from the All Blacks' starting line-up was driven by team protocols put in place by senior players, coach Steve Hansen confirmed.

Smith has started New Zealand's last six Test matches, but was replaced by Piri Weepu in the team named to face South Africa in Saturday's Rugby Championship clash with South Africa in Dunedin.

Following the All Blacks' 21-5 win over Argentina last weekend, Smith returned to the team hotel in Wellington after curfew. Hansen says his decision was therefore made easy after senior players Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Andrew Hore, Conrad Smith and Kieran Read enforced the team protocol.

When asked if Smith was disappointed by letting down his team-mates, Hansen said: "I suppose he was, yeah. He didn't want to give up his jersey lightly but at the end of the day it has been dealt with.

"It's like your family - there are consequences if you break them. That's the way we are living and we make no excuse for that.

"We have a strong focus on recovery and he broke the protocol in that area last week, so that made him ineligible for selection. He just broke a protocol that is non-negotiable and the consequence is you don't start in the XV if you break it."

Weepu will play his 63rd Test on Saturday, and is one of four changes to the All Blacks' starting line-up.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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