Steve Hansen warned All Blacks of public misbehaviour before Aaron Smith incident

Steve Hansen warned the All Blacks more than two years ago that they needed to be wary of indiscretions that the public and fans could photograph or video.

The All Blacks coach's words will be rattling around Aaron Smith's head as he flies home in disgrace from South Africa after news of his Christchurch Airport escapade with a woman hurtled around the globe. Media coverage has included still images shot from smart phones belonging to witnesses who saw Smith and a woman enter a disabled toilet together.

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Hansen spoke openly to media in early 2014 about how he had warned the All Blacks that the age of social media, smart phones and video devices meant they were targets to be exposed if they misbehaved publicly.

He was speaking after another All Black Steven Luatua was caught on a video uploaded publicly that showed him participating in a social media drinking game.

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Hansen told Radio Sport in February, 2014, that the Luatua situation was a reminder of how vulnerable players were to having any misbehaviour exposed.

2014: Steve Hansen's social media warning

"I think there is one thing you have to accept now as part of the All Blacks is that you all knew if you are putting yourself in a situation where you are going to be filmed or put on YouTube, people are going to have an opinion about that," Hansen said.

"Whether that's right or wrong, that opinion, is irrelevant. It's like perception. Perception is reality and the only way you can change it is not changing them but changing what you are doing.

"So just be mindful of what you are doing.

"If you're going to have a few beers, don't film it."

Smith's problem at the airport doesn't appear to be alcohol-related but Hansen's words were prescient.

And the world's best halfback will be wishing he had taken heed of them.

- NZ Herald

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