Former All Black Ben Smith has responded to the rumours that he could be looking to make a return for the Highlanders after the French Top 14 season was cut short.

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Earlier today, Smith posted on Instagram that he would not be joining the Highlanders for the new Super Rugby Aotearoa competition.

“Super Rugby Aotearoa like a great concept,” the post said.

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“I’m looking forward to supporting the Highlanders and watching them give it a crack. I’m not sure where the speculation has come from but I won’t be playing in this year’s competition.

“I’m looking forward to getting alongside my club side in Green Island and getting back to grassroots where it all started.”

Smith’s recent return to New Zealand had many hopeful that the former Highlanders captain could be weighing up a second stint with his former side.

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RugbyPass understands that a contract with the Highlanders was never on the cards for Smith and that his return home was based more on his future plans than any short term plans for 2020.

Nehe Milner-Skudder, another former All Black outside back, has confirmed that he will be representing the Highlanders in the Super Rugby Aotearoa competition while sevens star Vilimoni Koroi will also be in action for the southerners.

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