Was that the All Blacks worst game ever?
LISTEN as All Black scrumhalf Aaron Smith talks about the review in the wake of New Zealand’s semifinal at the World Cup.
Words such as ‘ruthless’ and ‘ugly’ were used in a wide-ranging interview on the Rugby Bricks podcast.
“The review process was ruthless. It was tough,” Smith told by Kale Panoho.
“We were watching one of the worst games we’ve ever played, and you’re part of some ugly stuff.
“Was the effort there? It was big-picture, there was no actual name-calling, just things like ‘We needed to be better there, here’s a big moment that we mucked up, here’s a chance that we could have made.
“Steve did it with the whole room – everyone got their one minute or two minutes to say how they felt. There was a range of emotions – there were 51 of us there to start the review.”
The review followed a meeting that the leadership team had the day before, which featured elements that Smith said he ‘hated hearing’.
“We had our leadership meeting with the coaches and it was tough – Steve Hansen asked right away ‘how do you feel right now?’
“We all told each other how we felt – and as you can imagine it was pretty sombre.
“One thing I love and hate about rugby players is we won’t take the glory either, but we love falling on the sword, and that’s what I hated the most about what I was hearing – we all wanted to jump on the sword, you know – ‘It was because of me’.
“Coach was like ‘cut that – it wasn’t that, we all did our part, and we all lost’.
“That was what I hated hearing, some of the best players in the world saying ‘it was my fault’ or ‘If I had done this…’ But the good thing was once we all said how we felt, we all felt a bit better.”
Source: RugbyBricks Podcast