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VIDEO: 'Late bloomer' Smith on how to play the Italians

VIDEO: A quarterfinal is no time to be fancy says Bulls flyhalf Chris Smith as he looks ahead at the United Rugby Championship clash at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

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The 50-cap Bulls flyhalf spoke to the media on Wednesday and reflected on his journey with the Bulls since joining them on loan from the Pumas in 2019.

His professional career started at the Pumas following sterling performances for Maties in the Varsity Cup.

He played a vital role for the Nelspruit side featuring in ten of the eleven matches and ending the competition as the leading point-scorer with an impressive total of 131 points in the Rugby Challenge in 2018.

His prowess as a solid flyhalf with his hold on the basics firmly intact attracted the attention of the Bulls, who secured his services on loan in 2019.

Through hard work and dogged performances, he managed to secure a contract with the Bulls.

“Come quarterfinal time, there’s no time to be fancy,” the 29-year-old Smith said.

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“It’s playing that Test match rugby, playing in the right parts of the field. Luckily, we experienced that collapse against Benetton two weeks ago.

“I’d like to think we have learned from it; hopefully, we can control that last 30 minutes a lot better,” he said.

Smith – who earned his 50th cap in last week’s 26-14 victory over the Sharks in Durban – is in touch with what he brings to the side and is adamant that he is not a flashy flyhalf.

“I’m not the most flashy flyhalf, and I don’t have the greatest highlights reel. But I’d like to think that my X-factor is doing the basics well, and serving the guys around me,” the flyhalf commented.

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“I focus on how I can contribute the best to the team, to my style of play, and how I can make the Canan Moodies, or the Kurt-Lees or Willies outside me, let them do their magic – and that’s often just in a linking role.

“Didn’t think I would get there, but fortunate to hit that milestone. Last week, I was looking at the honours board – who’s achieved 50 caps – and it’s mainly filled with Springboks.

“So, for me to have achieved that, I am super grateful and super happy that I will be joining those guys on that milestone.

“I definitely didn’t imagine I would play 50 games for the Bulls. It’s been a bit of a slow journey … I like to think of myself as a bit of a late bloomer.”

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Smith feels the Bulls have gained a lot of experience over the last two years playing in the URC and that experience will pull them through.

“Losing in a URC final did hurt us a lot, and the quarterfinal against the Stormers in Cape Town was another tough loss to take.

“But our squad has been together for three seasons, and we’ve found our style of play and we are getting better and better every day.”

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