Many a former All Black will be watching and reading the coverage of Aaron Smith's conduct in Christchurch with some relief that pocket-sized movie cameras were not around in their day. In any group of 30 or more young men at any time, there will be a wide range of scruples about commitments to other people and to the reputation of the group.

Smith's careless behaviour might not be unusual of itself but he is not playing in some former era, he is an All Black now, when just about everyone carries a movie camera in their mobile phone and many of those of Smith's age are in the habit of filming and sharing just about everything of mild interest they see. So what possessed him to take the risk, wearing his All Black uniform?

This is perhaps the least serious of the three scandals to beset New Zealand Rugby over the past few months, but the fact that it is the third lapse makes it more surprising. None of the All Blacks, indeed no player contracted to NZ Rugby, can be unaware of the scrutiny they are under and the public expectations of them.

The expectations and scrutiny may be greater than are faced by players of any other sport in this country, and greater than rugby players face elsewhere, but it comes with representing the game that commands New Zealanders' pride and interest as no other can.


All this will have been drilled into the consciousness of the players. How disappointing then, that yet another one has let rugby down.