All Blacks outside back Ben Smith has confirmed he will be leaving New Zealand for France at the end of 2019.
Smith, who has played 76 Tests for the All Blacks and 144 games for the Highlanders, has signed a contract with Pau and will leave New Zealand following what is expected to be his swansong, at the 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 endpoint,’ said the 32-year-old.
‘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 a 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.
‘Dunedin will always be where I call home and I’m one short of playing my 50th game for the “Grizzlies” so I still have a little unfinished business here yet.’