Conrad Smith confirms sabbatical
May 28, 2013
Conrad Smith expects to play the 2014 Super Rugby season © Getty Images
Conrad Smith will miss the All Blacks' end-of-year tour to Europe, having confirmed his plans to take a three-month break from all rugby in order to prolong his international career.
The Hurricanes and New Zealand centre, 31, has an eye on Rugby World Cup 2015 in England, but he said from the All Blacks training camp on Tuesday that he would be available for the 2014 Super Rugby season.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen now has the task of finding an adequate replacement for the Tests against France, England and Ireland, with Richard Kahui and Tamati Ellison having already confirming their departure to club rugby in Japan, and Rene Ranger likely to defect to France.
Ben Smith is the only other player with experience at Test level who has attended the two All Blacks training camps, while rookies Francis Saili and Tom Taylor are capable of playing both midfield positions.
The time for tinkering is over - England must nail their colours to the mast in key positions, writes Phil Vickery
"New Zealand-born Joe Schmidt has forged the Irish into a street-smart, well- prepared side," John Mitchell on the Irish renaissance
"I am bored of hearing 'I can't fault the effort'. Let us take that for granted and look for some quality." John Taylor writes
Reports comparing the 2014 Wallabies with their rabble-like predecessors of 2005 are unfair and self-serving, Greg Growden reports