Smith originally played for the Runanga club on the West Coast, representing the West Coast.
Following a failed transfer to Sydney, Smith joined Marist in the Wellington Rugby League competition. He won premierships with the club in 1965 and 1971. For the 1971 premiership, Smith was also the club's captain-coach.
Having already played for the West Coast, Smith became a Wellington representative when he moved to Marist.
In 1965 Smith was selected for the North Island and the following year he was first selected for the New Zealand Kiwis, playing in two losses to Australia. In 1967 he toured Australia, playing in only one test but ten of the seventeen tour games. He played in the 1968 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and in the 1970 World Cup in Great Britain. In his final season for New Zealand, Smith was a key part of the Grand Slam Kiwis, playing in all seven tests as New Zealand defeated Australia 24-3 and won three-test series against Great Britain 2-1 and France 2 wins and a draw. He finished his career having played in a total of sixteen tests for New Zealand and thirty nine games.