Via Highlanders Media
Highlanders captain Ben Smith has confirmed he has signed a new three-year contract that will keep him in NZ through to 2020. Great news for the Highlanders club and the All Blacks and Otago Rugby as his playing future had been the subject of intense speculation over the last few months, as overseas clubs circled in the hope of signing one of the game’s best players.
“It’s been an interesting few months as we have worked through what was best for my family and career over the next few years, in the end we are happy with our decision to say in NZ. Obviously the Highlanders, All Blacks and Otago are teams that I really enjoy playing for and I’m pretty excited about a few of the opportunities and challenges we’ll have over the next few seasons,” said Smith.
The Highlanders club played an integral part in the contract negotiations and there was delight that Smith had confirmed his availability for the club.
Highlanders CEO Roger Clark said, “Our owners recognised early on in the negotiation, the value that Ben brings to the club and are naturally over the moon that Ben has decided to stay with us for the next few years. The way he conducts himself on and off the field embodies what we like to think the Highlanders are all about. Words like honest, reliable and loyal tend to spring to mind when you think about Ben. As our captain and leader his contribution to the club is significant I know his resigning will mean a great deal to our club and supporters.”
Head Coach Tony Brown was also delighted with the Smiths decision: “It’s fantastic news that Bender has decided to stay. I know these decisions are never easy, but now that it’s done, we are looking forward to having him back leading the side again. As a coach you can’t ask for much more from your players than he provides us week after week, but more than being the consummate professional and a great rugby player, he’s just an outstanding Highlander man.”
Ben Smith Highlander #160
120 games, 138 points debut in 2009 Round 1 v Brumbies