Otago Daily Times

Smith vows to sharpen up af­ter harsh self­ap­praisal of his ef­fort

- Sports · Rugby · Wellington, New Zealand · New Zealand · Australia · Auckland Region · Australia national rugby union team · New Zealand national rugby union team · Eden Park · Jordan Petaia

WELLING­TON: All Black half­back Aaron Smith gave a scathing as­sess­ment of his per­for­mance in last week­end’s Bledis­loe Cup test as New Zealand yes­ter­day con­tin­ued to pick at the scabs of the 16­16 draw with Aus­tralia.

Smith has come un­der fire from some crit­ics but few were as harsh on the 93­test half­back as he was on him­self, how­ever, es­pe­cially when he com­pared his dis­play in Welling­ton with that of op­po­site num­ber Nic White.

‘‘My own stan­dard wasn’t up to it,’’ he said af­ter land­ing in Auck­land for Sun­day’s sec­ond test.

‘‘My pass­ing was er­ratic, in­ac­cu­rate and re­ally set us up.

‘‘It gave them shots at

[first fiveeighth] Richie

Mo’unga. It didn’t give our for­wards op­por­tu­ni­ties to run on to the ball . . . things I take pride in. I need to sharpen up.

‘‘Nic White had a field day. He was able to at­tack our [de­fence], he set up a cou­ple of tries, he kicked well.

‘‘Hav­ing that im­pact on a

game is some­thing I like to do.

‘‘I just want to al­ways keep push­ing my­self to an­other level of my per­for­mance and it wasn’t good enough at the week­end.’’

That the Wal­la­bies can ex­pect a backlash on Sun­day is a given, es­pe­cially as the match takes place at Eden Park where the All Blacks have not been beaten for

26 years and last lost to Aus­tralia in 1986.

Hooker Dane Coles, who came off the bench in Welling­ton, said the pack also had plenty to prove.

‘‘When you see clips with their in­tent and smash­ing guys at the ruck and us just park­ing up and hav­ing a hol­i­day . . . that’s per­sonal pride stuff,’’ he said.

‘‘The beauty of rugby is we’ve got a chance to fix that and make it right.’’

Mean­while, White is ex­pect­ing the All Blacks to try to limit his run­ning game on Sun­day.

The 30­year­old does not ex­pect to be given an inch to move at Eden Park.

‘‘I imag­ine they are prob­a­bly go­ing to chock up that area around the break­down and limit the nine run­ning so it’s some­thing we’ve got to ex­pect,’’ White said.

‘‘We got a lit­tle bit of pay out of that on the week­end so I’m not sure that will be there come Auck­land but I will take each break­down on its mer­its and it cer­tainly won’t me sur­prise if they’re go­ing to shoot out of the line and try to take me out of the game.’’

The Aus­tralians may start with Jor­dan Pe­taia in the cen­tres af­ter his re­cov­ery from a hip in­jury, while Jor­dan Ue­lese could get the nod as start­ing hooker af­ter im­press­ing off the bench.

Vet­eran Dane Haylett­Petty has re­cov­ered from a groin strain to chal­lenge Tom Banks for the start­ing spot at full­back. — Reuters/AAP

 ??  ?? Aaron Smith
Aaron Smith

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