Kiwi enforcer Smith's New Zealand Test regret

He made 23 appearances in the famed black and white jersey.

He won two premierships, a World Cup and enjoyed a career many could only dream of but Jeremy Smith has one regret.

The former Kiwi Test enforcer didn’t get to end his representative career on his terms.

With circumstances in his personal life being the reason, Smith was cut from the team in a decision that he had no say in. 

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Stephen Kearney made the call for him.

Smith sat down with the Our Town Our Team podcast to delve into what transpired.

“I had my youngest daughter and she was born at 24 weeks, so we played Melbourne in Melbourne in the semi-final and she was born that night,” Smith said.

“I flew back home the next morning and had my daughter.

“We played Roosters the following week in the prelim and then Stephen Kearney rang me.

“[Kearney said;] ‘I’m not going to take you on tour, you’ve just had a young baby, she might not survive, and I don’t want to have to send you home’. And I said; ‘that’s not up to you, don’t I make that call?

“He goes, ‘I just think it will be best if you stay back here’. I was still wanting to play because I love playing for the Kiwis. I suppose that was the end of me.”

Having retired from the NRL three years ago, Smith admits it’s the one thing which still eats him up.

“I suppose I do look back with a bit of regret of not having the final say on calling the time,” he said.

“It was taken out of my hands. I didn’t end up getting picked after that,” he said.

“I look back on my Test career and I suppose I was lucky enough to win a World Cup with them in (2008). Then win the Four Nations with them as well. So, when I left the Kiwis, I left them in pretty good hands moving forwards.”

After leaving his No. 13 jersey behind, Smith thought he’d left the side in a better place.

Taking pride in representing New Zealand, Smith admits he would’ve loved to represent the country one last time, although the chance never came.

“I would just like the final say on my terms, not on anyone else’s. If I go to play one more game, you know, I’d be happy,” he said.

“But just wasn’t to be I suppose. That is footy, you live, and you learn.”