Rugby

Smith: Fijians Scary, Exciting

“Playing against a team with that athleticism, speed and power will be very exciting. But it’s also about getting the mindset right to make some tackles on some big men and some very good athletes.
07 Jul 2021 17:32
Smith: Fijians Scary, Exciting
Veteran All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith during a press conference in Dunedin, New Zealand, on July 6, 2021. Photo: All Blacks.com

All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith has not played the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians before.

And the 97-cap veteran wants to play the Fijians at his home turf at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday.

Although he played with, most notably Waisake Naholo with the Highlanders, and against Fijians he predicted the encounter as ‘exciting and scary.’

The All Blacks have not played Fiji since 2011 – that was the last test at Carisbrook where New Zealand won 60-14.

He told the Otago Daily Times: “It’s exciting but scary. I’ve played with a few Fijian players, and they’re great to watch,

“Playing against a team with that athleticism, speed and power will be very exciting. But it’s also about getting the mindset right to make some tackles on some big men and some very good athletes.

“I think it’s going to be a really exciting match and great for Dunedin.”

Smith has been virtually unchallenged as starting All Black halfback since making his debut in 2012, but was rested for the Tongan test last Saturday. All Blacks won 102-0.

Come Saturday, he hopes the atmosphere will be fizzing for the test.

“I love test week in the smaller cities and I can’t wait to rock up to Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday night, all blacked out.

“A test here is very special and hopefully I will get a run against the Fijians.”

He seems likely to be back behind the scrum at his home stadium, although the All Black coaches had not given him the heads-up yesterday. The All Blacks will name the team on Thursday.

“We’re creating depth, and seeing young guys get an opportunity that has been well earned through Super Rugby.

“New Zealand is very halfback-rich at the moment. Competition between the halfbacks is strong, but we’re also trying to help each other.

“We all love the All Blacks, so it’s about who gets the nod and who doesn’t, and preparing accordingly, because we all want everyone to go well.”

The Vern Cotter-coached Flying Fijians would arrive in Dunedin on Thursday.

 

Feedbackoseab@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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