Black Ferns lock Charmaine Smith has today announced her retirement from all rugby.

Smith, 29, who has played 27 Tests since debuting in 2015, has made the decision after a scan found a bulging disc in her neck.

New Zealand Rugby’s Head of Women’s Rugby, Cate Sexton said Smith’s health and well-being was 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.

“Charmaine also has a career in the New Zealand Police as a sergeant,
which is equally important to her. Fortunately, her injury won’t impact
her policing role and she will continue to serve her community outside
of rugby,” Sexton said.

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 any more. I really hope that I’ve left the jersey
in a better place than where I picked it up. I hope that whoever picks
it up in the future picks it up from where I left off and takes it even
further.”

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