18 Aug 2017

Hansen says Smith focused on Bledisloe

7:25 am on 18 August 2017

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has backed halfback Aaron Smith to play well in tomorrow's Bledisloe Cup opener against the Wallabies despite latest allegations about his airport "toilet tryst" scandal.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen speaks at the post match press conference during the 3rd rugby test match between the All Blacks and Lions at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday the 8th of July 2017.

Steve Hansen Photo: Photosport

In a testy pre-match press conference, Hansen also rejected claims that Wallabies coach Michael Cheika confronted him about last year's infamous bugging scandal.

Reports have suggested that Smith may have misled his All Blacks bosses over the incident with a woman at Christchurch airport that had him sent home from last year's tour of South Africa and subsequently suspended.

New Zealand Rugby has issued a statement confirming that an independent lawyer would investigate the matter further.

aaron smith

aaron smith Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hansen declined to discuss the issue which stems from alleged text messages between Smith and the woman at the team's pre-game media conference.

"Righto, well we better deal with the elephant in the room first - Mr Smith," said Hansen.

"Obviously the incident happened last year. We dealt with it and we feel that we dealt with it decisively.

"There's nothing more that I can add to that but if there is anything else that needs to be spoken about, it will come from the New Zealand Rugby Union themselves."

Hansen insisted neither Smith nor the rest of the All Blacks would be distracted in Saturday's ANZ Stadium clash.

"He is in a great head space in that he knows that he's dealt with this issue and done the things that he needs to do around it and he's ready to play," said Hansen.

Nor does Cheika believe the controversy will undermine the world champions' preparations or performance in the Rugby Championship opener.

"On the field is where the game is played," Cheika said.

"On the field is where the contest is, not off the field and the distractions have to come on the field."

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Hansen was agitated at also being peppered about the infamous bugging affair, taking offence to claims Cheika confronted him about a perceived inference that the Wallabies had planted the listening device at the All Blacks team hotel before last year's Bledisloe opener in Sydney.

"I don't know if he 'confronted' me. We had a chat in Japan and I made it clear to him that we didn't highlight and say (they) were a candidate," Hansen said.

"There's only X amount of people that would take that opportunity.

"Whether we like it or not, if you found a bug in your team room, we'd have been one of those people.

"We certainly haven't named them as that and we never will because we don't know who put it there."

Former All Blacks security guard Adrian Gard has pleaded not guilty to making up claims about finding the bug secreted in a chair in the All Blacks' meeting room at the Intercontinental Hotel.

"I'm sure when the court case is over it will all come out in the wash," Cheika said.