All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith has been given a formal warning for lying to New Zealand Rugby about his Christchurch Airport toilet tryst last year.

NZR launched a new independent investigation last August after the release of messages between Smith and the woman at the centre of the saga in Australian media which contradicted his account of affairs during the original disciplinary hearing.

NZR said the investigator had concluded that while there were inconsistencies between Smith's account at the time and the information released in the exchanges with the woman, it was determined this did not have any material impact on the outcome of the original hearing.

"Being honest, particularly in a disciplinary proceeding, is critically important for any employer and that is certainly the case with New Zealand Rugby," NZR chief executive Steve Tew said. "To reinforce this point, we have issued Aaron Smith with a formal written warning."


The imbroglio began when Smith had a tryst with a woman in a disabled toilet at Christchurch Airport in September last year, which was witnessed by members of the public.

Smith returned home from South Africa to face the music, which was framed as a leadership group decision to suspend him for one match.

An internal investigation by NZ Rugby deemed this to be appropriate punishment and the saga would have ended there except in August the woman, who has not been named, released a tranche of messages between her and Smith that indicated he had sanitised his version of events and attempted to coerce her into making a false statement.

At that point, NZ Rugby ordered an independent investigation into the incident.

The dump of correspondence came at the most awkward time for NZ Rugby, which was preparing to release the findings of an independent Respect and Responsibility Review, commissioned in the wake of a bad year for off-field behaviour.

Among other things this review found that NZ Rugby needed to do a better job of educating players about the perils of excess alcohol intake and attitudes towards women.

In the wake of the release of Smith's messages to the woman, NZ Rugby hired a lawyer to conduct an independent investigation into his involvement in the incident and its messy aftermath.