All Blacks coach Steve Hansen says Aaron Smith has served his penance after naming the halfback in his starting side to face Ireland in Chicago.

Following a toilet tryst with a female at Christchurch Airport, Smith was given a formal warning by New Zealand Rugby and voluntarily stood down from the Bledisloe Cup test against Australia at Eden Park last month.

He missed the previous test against South Africa after heading home when admitting to the indiscretion.

"Aaron Smith's the best halfback in the world, so why wouldn't you play him? He's served his penance; more than probably most I'd say," Hansen told media today after naming his squad to play on Sunday.


Smith has missed the last three All Blacks tests after being rested from the side's win against Argentina in Buenos Ares. TJ Perenara stepped up in the nine jersey with three strong performances but has been moved to the bench to make way for Smith.

The matchday 23 is (with Test caps in brackets):

1. Joe Moody (20)
2. Dane Coles (46)
3. Owen Franks (87)
4. Patrick Tuipulotu (10)
5. Jerome Kaino (75)
6. Liam Squire (6)
7. Sam Cane (37)
8. Kieran Read - captain (94)
9. Aaron Smith (54)
10. Beauden Barrett (46)
11. Julian Savea (49)
12. Ryan Crotty (24)
13. George Moala (3)
14. Waisake Naholo (8)
15. Ben Smith (58)

16. Codie Taylor (11)
17. Ofa Tu'ungafasi (2)
18. Charlie Faumuina (42)
19. Scott Barrett *
20. Ardie Savea (9)
21. TJ Perenara (26)
22. Aaron Cruden (43)
23. Malakai Fekitoa (20)