Born: 15 March, 1974 – Kaitaia
Test record: 8 Tests (1996-97, 2000) – 1 try (4 points)
Tours: 1994 tour of Papua New Guinea
Nomadic back-rower Tyran Smith – one of only three players in Australian premiership history to play for seven clubs – represented New Zealand in eight Tests from 1996-2000 after initially gaining Kiwis selection in 1994.
Northland-born Smith moved to Australia at an early age and was a junior of the Moore Park club. Originally a winger, the tall, dreadlocked teenager broke into first grade at South Sydney in 1993. But a switch to lock the following season transformed Smith into one of the competition’s breakout stars as he played all but one of the improved Rabbitohs’ matches.
The 20-year-old earned a place in the Kiwis’ squad to tour Papua New Guinea at the end of 1994. Though a Test debut eluded him, Smith played in all three minor matches on tour and scored a try against Port Moresby Vipers.
Injury ruined a disappointing 1995 campaign, but despite struggling to hold down a starting spot with battlers Souths in 1996 he was picked for New Zealand’s post-season schedule and played in all five Tests. The hard-running, skilful Smith made a tryscoring Test debut off the bench against Papua New Guinea and was promoted to the No.13 jersey for all three matches of the Kiwis’ cleansweep of Great Britain.
Having signed with Super League, Smith joined North Queensland in 1997 and was an interchange in New Zealand’s Anzac Test loss to Super League Australia, before playing both matches of New Zealand’s Tri-Series campaign against Queensland and NSW. He switched clubs midyear to the doomed Hunter Mariners and retained a bench berth for the stunning 30-12 post-season defeat of the Aussies at North Harbour.
Smith joined Auckland Warriors in 1998 for what was an underwhelming one-season stay, making just 10 top-grade appearances and did not feature in the international arena.
On the move again, Smith spent 1999 at Balmain and secured a contract with the fledgling Wests Tigers joint venture, becoming the club’s inaugural Player of the Year. He received a recall for the 2000 Anzac Test, starting at lock in a 52-0 loss in Sydney – the 26-year-old’s last appearance in the black-and-white jersey.
Smith turned out for New Zealand Māori at the 2000 World Cup in England, playing all three pool matches in the second-row.
A 13-season, 188-game first-grade career concluded in 2005 after four seasons with Canberra Raiders.
Smith later entered the player management game, while his son, outside-back Reimis, became a prolific tryscorer in the NRL with Canterbury and Melbourne, and represented New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup 9s.