France-based freelance rugby writer Gavin Mortimer believes that Ben Smith's move to France is as good as done.

Mortimer explained on Radio Sport that earlier this month reputable bi-weekly French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique were reporting that Ben Smith's move to Pau appeared likely, where he would join former All Blacks Conrad Smith, Colin Slade, Tom Taylor and Jamie Mackintosh.

"I think negotiations have been going on for about two or three months, I think it's just about the money but he seems to be keen to go. Pau are very interested to have him and of course Conrad Smith has just signed on for another year so it seems as if that's going to happen."

Listen: Gavin Mortimer talks All Blacks exodus on Radio Sport

However, Mortimer believes that if Smith goes then it is almost certain that Dagg - linked with Toulon in October - will stay.


Mortimer also addressed Aaron Cruden's move to Montpellier, and revealed that the French club was not the All Black's only suitor.

"I think it had been in the pipeline for a while. There had been interest from two English clubs allegedly - Northampton and Bristol - and Northampton were quite confident at one stage, then Montpellier came in with a bid, allegedly around one million euros and that's out of Northampton's league so Montpellier got him."