Former All Blacks star Ben Smith made his debut for Pau today but it lasted just 51 minutes after he was red-carded during his side’s clash with Stade Francais at the Stade Jean-Bouin in the Top 14.

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The 84-times capped New Zealand back was shown a red for leading with the elbow into contact, and was duly sent from the field by referee Alexandre Ruiz.

The collision in the 51st minute left Stade hooker Lucas Da Silva on the floor and needing medical assistance.

The sending off would prove costly for Pau, who despite a late try for Lucas Rey, ran out 21 – 18 losers to their Parisian hosts.

It’s far from an ideal start to Smith time in France, arriving in the French league following an illustrious and storied career in the sport to date.

The 2013 Nominee for World Player of the Year played 153 games for the Highlanders before he signed a contract with the French club. His All Blacks swansong at the Rugby World Cup in Japan didn’t go as planned however, with head coach Steve Hansen preferring Beauden or Jordie Barrett over the 33-year-old.

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Smith started against Namibia and Wales, came off the bench against South Africa and Canada and was not in the match-day 23 against Ireland or England. He played in all seven of the All Blacks’ matches in 2015, starting in six.

Known as ‘Bender’ by many, Smith made his test debut in a 20-6 win against Italy in Milan on 14 November, 2009.

He represented New Zealand U21 and the sevens team with whom he won Commonwealth Games gold in 2010 in Delhi.

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In August, 2013 he scored a personal-best three tries in a 47-29 win over the Wallabies. Smith became the 68th captain of the All Blacks on 16th June, 2017 against Samoa in Auckland.

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