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Dublin: 16 °C Sunday 22 July, 2018
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All Blacks legend Conrad Smith to hang up his boots at the end of the season

The 36-year-old won two World Cups with New Zealand.

ALL BLACKS LEGEND Conrad Smith will end his playing days at the end of the season, as he considers a move into coaching and further work with International Rugby Players.

The 36-year-old has been with Top 14 club Pau since 2015 but is ready to end his professional playing career at the end of this campaign.

Smith is one of the All Blacks’ greatest players ever, having earned 94 caps in their midfield and helped them to World Cup successes in 2011 and 2015, as well as the 2005 Test series victory against the Lions.

Conrad Smith Smith playing against Ireland in 2012. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The former Hurricanes centre worked with the New Zealand Rugby Players Association during his time as an All Black and has been involved with International Rugby Players – who announced a move to Dublin today – in more recent times.

A qualified lawyer, Smith could move into a bigger role with International Rugby Players upon retirement, but his deeply intelligent rugby brain would also be suited to coaching and it’s something he is keen to try out.

“I’m going to finish up this year and I think I will spend a year or two either doing a little bit of work with International Rugby Players, but also within rugby itself and the coaching set-up and see what I like,” Smith told The42 in Dublin today.

“While I was playing, it was cool that I could do it [working with the players' associations] and it was something a little bit different outside of rucks and the tactics of the game.

“It’s certainly something that has interested me for a while. It stems from the fact that I just love rugby.”

Smith remains a key player with Pau for now and has started 17 games for the club in the Top 14 this season, continuing to show his class in the 13 shirt outside Kiwi out-half Colin Slade.

This will be his last season on the pitch, however, and his retirement is sure to be met with major tributes from New Zealand, as well as the rest of the rugby world.

Smith has always been a classy presence on the pitch for Wellington, the Hurricanes, New Zealand and Pau, with his defensive intelligence matched by creative and incisive attacking play.

Read about Smith’s work with International Rugby Players on The42 this weekend.

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Murray Kinsella

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