Sport All Blacks scrum-half Smith out of Rugby Championship
'Paradise': Australian states free of COVID resist opening
PERTH, Australia (AP) — It can seem like Australia’s west coast has almost entirely avoided COVID-19. A mask-free nightlife is thriving and huge crowds are turning out for sporting events, including 53,000 rugby fans who crammed into a Perth stadium to watch New Zealand’s All Blacks defeat Australia’s Wallabies on a recent sunny Sunday. “We are in paradise,” said one of those fans, Andrea Williams, who is all for the region continuing to defy the federal government and maintain strict border restrictions that keep it separated from the pandemic raging in large parts of the rest of Australia.
All Blacks scrum-half Aaron Smith confirmed Wednesday he will miss the rest of the Rugby Championship and is in doubt for the team's northern hemisphere tour as he awaits the birth of his second child.
The 101-Test veteran played New Zealand's two opening Championship fixtures in Auckland but did not travel to Australia for the rest of the tournament.
Smith said he would remain in New Zealand because he did not want to be stranded in Australia for the baby's birth, due in November.
All Blacks seek another Ioane blockbuster against Pumas
The All Blacks are looking for another inspirational performance from Akira Ioane when they face a determined Argentina in the Rugby Championship Sunday on the Gold Coast. Argentina upset the All Blacks for the first time last year and may believe they can do it again, but they don't have an Ioane and that could be a key difference according to stand-in All Blacks captain Brodie Retallick. The All Blacks misread the Argentines last year and were beaten by Los Pumas for the first time -- a 25-15 scoreline in Sydney that has both sides fired up for this match.
Under New Zealand's strict Covid-19 border controls, overseas arrivals must complete two weeks in quarantine and Smith said it was unlikely could book a spot at short notice.
It means he will miss New Zealand's three remaining Championship matches, one against Argentina and two against South Africa.
The All Blacks will then go to the United States and Europe on a tour that includes Tests in Wales, Ireland and France.
"The door isn't completely closed to me joining the team for the northern tour if our baby comes early," Smith said.
"In this environment anything can happen so I've got an open mind."
Smith said that while in New Zealand he would play for the Manawatu Turbos in the domestic NPC competition.
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