A check-up has resulted in Black Fern Charmaine Smith facing an early retirement from professional women’s rugby.
Due to a diagnosed bulging disk in her neck, the 29-year old has made the cautionary decision to end her 27 cap New Zealand Black Ferns XV career.
New Zealand Rugby’s head of Women’s Rugby, Cate Sexton said Smith’s health and wellbeing were the priority and the medical advice was clear. “Rugby is a contact sport and to play with this type of injury was simply too risky for Charmaine’s health. It’s obviously hugely disappointing for her, the Black Ferns and fans, but it’s the right thing to do and she has the backing of her medical team, her family, and teammates.
The call is one other sportspeople and rugby players have had to make although, Charmaine Smith will stay active in the rugby community when New Zealand look to host the 2021 Rugby World Cup next year.
Injury Heartache; Charmaine Smith forced into early Retirement
A thankful Smith said her goal had always been to leave a legacy in the black jersey. “I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me, encouraged me and been a part of my rugby career.
“We never own a Black Ferns jersey, we’re only caretakers of the jersey until we aren’t anymore.”
“We never own a Black Ferns jersey, we’re only caretakers of the jersey and I really hope that I’ve left the jersey I was caretaker of in a better place” 🖤
— Black Ferns (@BlackFerns) June 15, 2020
Smith made her debut for the Black Ferns in 2015 in Canada and went on to play 27 Tests in the black jersey, scoring 20 points during that time.
Born and bred in Whangarei, Smith moved to Auckland in 2009. A former netballer, she was a training partner for the Northern Mystics and a provincial player for North Harbour before making the switch to rugby in 2014. She represented both North Harbour and Auckland in the Farah Palmer Cup.
In 2017 Smith played in all five matches in the Rugby World Cup in Ireland and scored a try in the Black Ferns 41-31 victory in the final against England in Belfast.
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