Conrad Smith out of Bledisloe test

Conrad Smith of the All Blacks. Photo / Herald On Sunday Photograph / Steven McNicholl
Conrad Smith of the All Blacks. Photo / Herald On Sunday Photograph / Steven McNicholl

All Blacks centre Conrad Smith has made himself unavailable to play in the Bledisloe Cup test against Australia in Sydney tonight.

The All Blacks confirmed this morning that Smith would stay in New Zealand to be with his wife Lee-Ann, who was showing signs of labour yesterday morning. There is no word as to whether she had given birth to their first child.

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Smith's unavailability, which was expected following his return to New Zealand yesterday, means Malakai Fekitoa will wear the No13 jersey at ANZ Stadium, with Ryan Crotty the back-up midfielder.

Both coach Steve Hansen and skipper Richie McCaw said they had faith in Fekitoa, 22, to rise to the challenge for what will be his third test and only his second start.

An All Blacks victory over the confident Wallabies will be their 18th in a row, a new world record among the top tier nations.

- APNZ

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