Halfback Aaron Smith is heading home from the All Blacks’ tour of South Africa after he was suspended for an airport toilet incident.
The 27-year-old was stood down for this weekend’s Test against the Springboks in Durban after details emerged of the incident, which took place in Christchurch last month.
Coach Steve Hansen said Smith was spotted entering a toilet cubicle with a female friend at Christchurch Airport the day after the side beat South Africa 41-13 on September 17.
Hansen said Smith accepted his behaviour was not of All Blacks standard and the punishment for the breach of team standards was decided by team leaders.
Smith had asked to leave the tour, a request backed by team management.
It is not the first time Smith has courted controversy.
In 2012 he was benched for a Test against South Africa in Dunedin for breaking a team curfew and two years a later a naked selfie of him was posted online.
NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew said Smith would face a misconduct hearing in New Zealand.
“This was really bad decision-making by Aaron which reflects poorly on him, and on the team.”
It’s the latest incident NZ Rugby has had to deal with in recent times after a stripper scandal at a Chiefs end-of-season party and an assault case involving Wellington Lions player Losi Filipo.
“We are taking action to improve the culture of our game and are about to embark on an independent review of respect and responsibility in our professional player environment,” Tew said.