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Aaron Smith to miss Highlanders match due to death of father

Aaron Smith will miss the first game of the Highlanders’ two-match tour of Australia due to the recent death of his father, Wayne.

Wayne passed away on Friday, and the Highlanders have given their halfback leave to remain in New Zealand rather than travel to Perth tomorrow for the match against the Force on Saturday.

The All Black will likely join the squad in time for the match against the Waratahs in Sydney the following weekend.

“It's probably a good time to recognise him and his family with the passing of his dad,” assistant coach Dave Dillon said today.

“It’s pretty tough to process at the best of times, so we’re just thinking of them.

“I think you're all in it together. You feel if it’s important to one person that it’s important to all of you.

“When something like that happens, you reflect on your own experiences and you just offer support and let them know that you're thinking of them. It's bigger than the game really.”