Watch: Crusaders coach Scott Robertson cracks a funny after 1 NEWS reporter nearly taken out by high ball

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson had the media in stitches at his side's training today, cracking a joke at 1 NEWS' Matt Hall-Smith's expense after nearly being taken out by a high ball.

With the media gathered around Robertson, an unnamed Crusader fired a bomb straight up into the Christchurch sky, narrowly avoiding their coach.

As the calamity died down, Robertson was quick to single out Matt before ribbing him with:

"That ball would have blown up hitting that hair-do of yours!"

Stephen never even saw the aerial bombardment coming during his piece to camera this afternoon. Source: 1 NEWS

It's not the first time a 1 NEWS sports reporter has been in the firing line, with Stephen Stuart finding himself on the end of some kicks while covering the British and Irish Lions tour last year. 

Matt Hall-Smith's hair came in for some stick from Scott Robertson, after they both nearly got nailed by an errant ball. Source: 1 NEWS


Ben Smith to be rested for Highlanders clash with Reds

Highlanders fullback will miss his side's Super Rugby clash with the Reds in Brisbane next week, staying in New Zealand after the naming of the first All Blacks squad of the year on Sunday.

Smith, 31, has been named to start at fullback for the Highlanders for their clash against the Waratahs in Sydney this weekend, however he will be rested for the side's next match in a bid to preserve his fitness for the All Blacks' series with France.

With Steve Hansen and New Zealand Rugby implementing a policy of key All Blacks being rested for at least two Super Rugby matches this season, Smith's withdrawal from the Highlanders' squad will come after the fullback has started in every single one of his side's matches this season.

Speaking to media at Highlanders training, coach Aaron Mauger confirmed that his co-captain will sit out of the Brisbane clash.

"Ben is a little bit different," he said.

"He had his sabbatical last year, so he had a lot of time off. We also didn't play him in the (Brisbane) Tens, which was requested by the All Blacks."

The likes of Aaron Smith and Waisake Naholo have also been rested by Mauger so far this season.

Highlanders fullback Ben Smith in action during the Super 15 Rugby match - Chiefs v Highlanders played at FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand on Friday 30 March 2018.

Copyright photo: © Bruce Lim /
Highlanders fullback Ben Smith in action against the Chiefs in Super Rugby match in Hamilton. Source: Photosport


Sam Whitelock out, Crotty and Franks return for Crusaders' clash with Blues

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has made six changes to his side to face the Blues at Eden Park this weekend, including a return for star All Blacks Owen Franks and Ryan Crotty, while captain Sam Whitelock will not feature.

With Whitelock unavailable for selection this week, flanker Matt Todd will lead the side, while Quinton Strange comes into the starting line-up in the imposing lock's place.

Owen Franks returns to the front row, partnering with Tim Perry in what could shape as the All Blacks' front row for the June series against France, with Codie Taylor at hooker.

In the backline, Crotty's return to action will see him pair up again in midfield with youngster Jack Goodhue, while George Bridge switches from fullback to the left wing.

David Havili will run out in the number 15 jersey.

CRUSADERS: 15. David Havili, 14. Seta Tamanivalu, 13. Jack Goodhue, 12. Ryan Crotty, 11. George Bridge, 10. Richie Mo'unga, 9. Bryn Hall, 8. Jordan Taufua, 7. Matt Todd, 6. Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5. Quinten Strange, 4. Scott Barrett, 3. Owen Franks, 2. Codie Taylor, 1. Tim Perry.

Replacements: 16. Andrew Makalio, 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Michael Alaalatoa, 19. Mitchell Dunshea, 20. Pete Samu, 21. Mitchell Drummond, 22. Mitchell Hunt, 23. Manasa Mataele.

Sam Whitelock tackled by Israel Folau
Waratahs v Crusaders Super rugby match at Allianz Stadium, Sydney Australia. Sunday 2 April 2017. Photo: Paul Seiser /
Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock tackled by Waratahs' fullback Israel Folau. Source: Photosport