New Zealand scrum-half Aaron Smith has issued a tearful apology after being caught in a toilet cubicle in Christchurch airport with a "female friend" shortly before departing to Durban for Saturday's Rugby Championship game with South Africa .
A report on New Zealand's 'Stuff' website carried an eye-witness account of Smith leaving the company of his team-mates and following the woman into the cubicle, then leaving after about ten minutes and re-joining his team-mates where they were "greeting fans" in the airport.
Smith's activity has caused uproar in his home country, especially because he has a serious partner, Teagan Voykovich. All Blacks boss Steve Hansen was quoted on the All Blacks Twitter account as saying the behaviour of Smith "was not of All Blacks conduct" and Smith was banned for a match - a decision made by "team leaders" (a group of more experienced players within the New Zealand squad).
And now Smith has apologised to his partner, her family, his own and the New Zealand fans and team, calling his own behaviour "unacceptable" and asking press to "respect" himself and Voykovich while they deal with the scenario.
"I've made a huge mistake." - Aaron Smith apologises after being caught with a 'female friend' in a public toilet. https://t.co/Fj9RAtFAII
— Sky Sports Rugby Union (@SkySportsRugby) October 6, 2016
When asked about her reasoning for reporting Smith's actions to 'Stuff', the eye-witness said that Smith's status as an All Black and the high regard in which they are held in New Zealand was why she felt a duty to report the scrum-half's indiscretion:
They're on the Weetabix boxes for God's sake.