All Blacks midfielder Conrad Smith has today confirmed he will take a sabbatical and miss the end-of-year European tour.
As revealed in the Herald on Sunday last November, Smith will be available for the Rugby Championship but won't travel for the tests against France, Ireland and England.
Coach Steve Hansen said at the All Blacks training camp at the Mt Maunganui today he was comfortable with the decision.
"We can only support that. I'd rather he went on a sabbatical than retire. There's still a lot of rugby left in him, it's just an indicator that players need to step out, get that decent break, get their bodies right.''
Smith, 31, a veteran of 66 tests for the All Blacks, will play for the Hurricanes against the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday after recovering from concussion suffered against the Bulls three weeks ago.