7 Feb 2017

Ben Smith sticks with All Blacks and NZ Rugby

5:06 pm on 7 February 2017

All Blacks fullback Ben Smith has re-signed with New Zealand Rugby until 2020.

The 30-year-old Highlanders player had several overseas offers, but re-signing with New Zealand Rugby meant he would be available for the 2019 World Cup in Tokyo.

As part of his contract, Smith also an option of an extended break from the game and also had an early termination clause after the World Cup.

For how much longer will Ben Smith be playing in front of All Black fans

Fan favourite Ben Smith has re-signed with New Zealand Rugby. Photo: Photosport

"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 stay in New Zealand," Smith said.

"Obviously, the All Blacks, the Highlanders and Otago are three 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," he added.

Ben Smith and Nasi Manu hold the Super Rugby trophy aloft after the Highlanders historic win.

Ben Smith and Nasi Manu hold the Super Rugby trophy aloft after their win over the Hurricanes in 2015. Photo: Photosport

Smith made his test debut in 2009 and has been in a rich vein of form in recent years.

He has scored 27 tries in his 60 Tests to date and has been nominated for five national and international awards - including international Player of the Year in the All Blacks' unbeaten 2013 season. He was also a key part of the All Blacks Rugby World Cup-winning team in 2015, co-captained the Super Rugby champion Highlanders team the same year, and was a Super Rugby centurion.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen said they were delighted Smith had committed long-term to New Zealand.

"To have the most consistent player in world rugby re-signing is great news for New Zealand rugby and a real credit to our game. It's a real confidence booster for us to keep a player of this calibre in our country and we now look forward with excitement knowing that our Vice-Captain is going to be with us through to 2020.

"Obviously, it's taken a wee while to reach an agreement, but good things take time," said Hansen.