Highlanders fullback Ben Smith will not play for the franchise against the British and Irish Lions.
Smith confirmed today he did have a clause in his contract to play for the Highlanders this year against the Lions but this was before the All Blacks scheduled a test against Samoa three days after the game at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
As a result, has decided to pull out of the Highlanders clash to make himself available for the All Blacks instead, as part of their build-up for their Lions series.
Highlanders coach Tony Brown told Trackside Radio that Smith wanted to play for the Highlanders, but All Blacks commitments have got in the way.
"I actually think he wanted not only himself to play against the Lions, but he wanted every All Black who played for the Highlanders to be playing as well, but I'm not sure he got that one past Shag [Steve Hansen]," said Brown.
Smith will equal the Highlanders record for most appearances tomorrow night against the Waratahs, when he runs out for his 127th game.