All Blacks veteran eager to take his game to another level
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP SPOTLIGHT: All Blacks veteran fullback Ben Smith is ready to take his game to another level ahead of this year’s World Cup.
The 33-year-old star is in his final season with the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby before he heads off to France to play for Pau.
New Zealand will be looking to win an historic third World Cup in a row later this year in Japan and Smith his working hard on evolving his game to help New Zealand achieve that goal.
After being pushed out to the wing during the latter stages of last season, Smith is set to nail down the No.15 jersey with Damian McKenzie ruled out for the season.
McKenzie’s movement between No.15 and No.10 was preferred and Smith has been working hard to improve his first-receiver skills ahead of the All Blacks Rugby Championship opener against Argentina in Buenos Aires.
“It’s really important to have two-sided attack off any play really so you don’t become predictable, and the opposition can’t just defend one side of the ruck,” Smith told stuff.co.nz.
“The more you can have a 15 and a 10 owning both sides of the ruck, the more effective your game is going to be. It’s something I’ve been working on and I feel like it’s something I’m growing in my game.”
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“We want to get the team united” – That’s the message from All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster as the squad get stuck into training in Auckland. pic.twitter.com/rE9YgnbFjr
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) July 11, 2019
With several players from the Crusaders set to be rested for the opening round of the Rugby Championship, Smith could lead the All Blacks. However, the captaincy was not on Smith’s mind.
“I haven’t really thought about it. It’s something they’ll decide next week,” said Smith.
In terms of the work-ons for the opening Test, Smith added: “They’ve said we want to be real good at attacking against linespeed, so it’s making sure we’ve got the right tools to bring out when teams are going to bring that pressure defensively.
“We’ve been working on that, and making sure we can pressure other teams on defence, and tweaking how we do that.”