Rugby is turning into a national embarrassment and disgrace.

Star halfback Aaron Smith's public sex scandal means the sport which likes to portray itself as being above the rest continues to be exposed for what it really is. The assumption must be that a series of known incidents are just the tip of an ugly iceberg.

From a witness account, Smith and his lady friend pushed in ahead of two parents and their young son to use a Christchurch airport disabled cubicle for sex. He then nonchalantly re-joined his team mates.

The official word is that Smith requested an immediate return home from Durban and the All Blacks are supporting him in this. Please. Smith has been sent home, or he should have been.


All Black Aaron Smith' s toilet encounter with woman at Christchurch Airport - witness tells all

What an outrageous disgrace. Smith will surely receive a huge ban and fine for this, beyond the interim one game ban handed out by the first response team, the All Blacks' leadership group.

Toilet engaged. Famous All Black's moral code vacant. Better people make better All Blacks, and all that rot. Rugby needs to quit its airs and graces. It also needs to hold Smith to account and send an overwhelming message to its misbehaving stars.

Watch: Nigel Yalden explains how Aaron Smith's departure could change the make-up of the All Blacks side to face South Africa

Nigel Yalden on how Aaron Smith’s departure will affect All Blacks team to face South Africa.

Smith has treated his partner, the public, his teammates and the All Black fans with contempt. He is coming across as an arrogant prat.

The embarrassing incidents are mounting up quicker than All Black victories. Sex being what it is, this incident will go down in history accompanied by humorous sniggering. But it is no laughing matter with a public that is growing increasingly tired of rugby's abuse of its privilege and power.

First it was Strippergate, where a lone woman was almost certainly treated in an abusive fashion at a Chiefs rugby function. An in-house inquiry did nothing to help the situation.

Then Wellington continued to choose Losi Filipo, even though he had admitted to serious assaults. The Filipo situation was compounded by New Zealand Rugby's chief executive Steve Tew's offhand response - the rugby boss flew out to Argentina before making good on his TV promise to contact all the victims, leaving it to one of his underlings. It also continued an infuriating trend whereby rugby players often get off when they appear in court.


Listen: All Blacks coach Steven Hansen on the Aaron Smith incident

Now Smith has been caught in a tryst at Christchurch Airport, the kicker being that he and his lady "friend" used a disabled toilet.

Rugby likes to stand on the high ground, pretending it holds superior values. But it is no better or worse than the rest. Indeed, it may actually be worse, a history of arrogant behaviour finally catching up with the national sport.

As for Smith - who has previous form involving the sending of a nude selfie - what an absolute idiot, especially since rugby was on a yellow card warning with Strippergate and the Filipo affair fresh in the public's mind.

We are assuming Smith and his friend had sex in the toilet - what other possible business could they have in there. Apart from anything else, this is insulting to disabled people, who deserve to have their public facilities respected, and families with young kids who need to use these cubicles.

There is a section of rugby followers which loves to insinuate that the game has superior values to league in particular, and to be fair league provides excellent material to work with. Superiority game over, troops. Rugby is vigorously working its way towards the back of the decency pack.