The Highlanders gave All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith the perfect Dunedin goodbye, performing a haka in the veteran's honour after Friday's 35-30 victory over the Reds at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
Smith, 34, will say goodbye to New Zealand at the end of 2023 after signing a deal to join Japanese outfit Toyota Verblitz.
Now with 184 appearances, Smith is the Highlanders' most-capped player, and was instrumental in the side's first - and so far only - Super Rugby title, won in 2015.
After the final whistle, Smith's Highlanders teammates showed their appreciation, performing a haka to commemorate his final appearance under the roof at Forsyth Barr.
The victory - which fittingly saw the winning try scored by Folau Fakatava, Smith's deputy - kept the Highlanders' hopes of a Super Rugby playoff spot alive.
The Highlanders now sit eighth on the ladder after 13 games, one point clear of ninth-placed Western Force, who can claw their way back into playoff contention with victory over Melbourne Rebels later on Friday.
Should the Highlanders fail to reach the knockouts, his final appearance in a Highlanders jersey will come next week, when his side travel to Auckland to face the fourth-placed Blues at Eden Park.2023-05-26T09:47:01Z dg43tfdfdgfd