Rugby

Smith feeling fresh and ready to go

2017-10-31 11:25
Aaron Smith (Gallo)

Cape Town - All Blacks scrumhalf Aaron Smith said the team has been challenged on their northern hemisphere tour to play attractive rugby and to finish the 2017 year well. 

Smith said he had his own reasons for wanting to finish the year on a high which was a challenge having played 20-odd games during the season. 

"I feel in good shape physically, that's the main thing. I don't feel like I'm hanging in there, trying to hang on. I'm just looking to try and prepare and I feel good and I'm excited about the bunch of boys we've got over here and the games coming up," he said in London. 

Smith said while team management had been careful in trying to ensure players still had something in their tank during these last weeks of their year, it brought out the team first element the team adhered to, even if there was occasional disappointment when players were told they were being rested.

"When you get rested it sucks, but you know the next week you're going to be humming and feeling really good, and you can attack that game and attack that next block and with how the Rugby Championship is split up you can get two weeks off. 

"Two weeks, as you get a bit older, is just like gold and you can go for another month or whatever is needed," he said. 

Smith said the law changes the All Blacks would have to deal with for the first time on Saturday against the Barbarians should not change their approach too much. 

He couldn't say too much about how the All Blacks would deal with the scrum feed but the laws about the back of the scrum were also good with the No.8 being able to grab the ball and get it out of the scrum. 

It was frustrating when the ball had been stuck in the locks' feet and they couldn't grab the ball without being penalised. 

"I'm glad that they've cleaned that area up, and with the ball going in, and also with the step to the side to put it in, it's pretty impossible for them to be yay-high off the ground and get their leg to hook so giving us that little bit of adjustment, we'll try and roll it straight. It's good that the eights can grab it out of the scrum so we can get it into the backs." 

Smith said coach Steve Hansen had given the side the challenge of playing some attractive rugby. They knew opposing sides would throw everything at them. 

"Coming off a loss we just had a pretty hard out review so we've got some work-ons for this week and probably want to rectify what happened in Brisbane," he said. 

The review wasn't as bad as he thought it might have been, it was honest and gave them some good things for future games. 

"We've got a big game against the Baabaas, there's a few Kiwi boys trying to come in…I've played these guys at Super Rugby so it's hard enough but put them on a bigger stage with better players around them they're going to be dangerous. 

Smith said it wouldn't be strange playing Julian Savea in an international-type game. 

"After what I've been seeing lately and how he went in the weekend – we've had a few chats a few of us and it's like 'jeez the bus is coming'. He's been playing really well and guys like that are nightmares, especially for me, I'm 80 clicks [kgs] and he's 100 and something." 

Smith said Savea was a 'dream-ender' he had been on the back end of a couple of times when trying to tackle him. 

News that next year's third Bledisloe Cup game would be played in Japan was hard to think about so far out, Smith said. 

However, he had played once before in Tokyo and he enjoyed the experience, the food and the stadium. 

"It's one of those things, a Bledisloe game is always brilliant and to take it offshore, that's something I saw they used to do quite a bit before I was in the All Blacks and it always looked like the occasion and the event was awesome," he said. 

"The last time we played there it was a brilliant atmosphere, warm, a fast field and that's all you can ask for."

Read more on:    all blacks  |  aaron smith  |  rugby
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