All Blacks Ben Smith confirms New Zealand departure

All Blacks and Highlanders outside back Ben Smith has confirmed that he will be leaving New Zealand at the end of 2019 season after signing a contract with French Club Pau.
Smith, who has earned 76 caps for All Blacks and 144 for Highlanders, will leave New Zealand after was is termed as his final appearance at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
“I’m excited about the opportunities that may present themselves in the future, but I also realise that my playing time with Otago, the Highlanders and the All Blacks now has an end point,” Smith said.
“In your heart you want to play forever, but in your head you know that’s not possible. In the playing time I have remaining, I’m pretty keen to experience fresh, new challenge. I think it will be good to be involved in a new environment and a foreign culture for a while, I’m sure it will be a bit of an adventure for both myself and my family,” added.
The Highlanders co-captain, since debut became as senior figure good enough to win a Commonwealth Games in sevens in 2010, 2015 Rugby World Cup triumph, the same year he helped the Highlanders to its maiden Super Rugby title and to captain the All Blacks against Samoa in Auckland in 2017, he has scored 33 tries in tests.

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