Aaron Smith describes the ‘yin and yang’ of playing Springboks in final

All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith says playing the Springboks is a unique challenge that requires a certain attitude and intent.

The 34-year-old will start in his second Rugby World Cup final this weekend, playing his 125th and final game for the All Blacks.

Smith is relying on his eleven years of experience playing against the Springboks in an attempt to put the finishing touches on his legacy and leave international rugby on the highest possible note.

Scott McLeod, the All Blacks’ defense coach, discusses strategy for a rainy World Cup final.

“Well, with the South Africans, it’s always a funny one,” he said on The Front Row Daily Show. “It’s always about displaying as much courage and intent as you can in that week, knowing that it’s going to be a heavily forward-dominated game because they’re really big men,” the player said.

“They’re going to try slow our ball down and I want to make sure we can play at speed, move their big boys around, try suck juice out of them so their scrum and maul isn’t as good.

“When I have to make those tackles and tackle those big boys, it’s like I said, show that courage and be courageous and go in there and go low and hang on.

“I want to put them under pressure with my speed, skill, teamwork, and attack, but I also want to be as physical and tough as I can. It’s a yin and yang for me. However, they always bring out the best in us.

“We can do special things against them as well if we play at a speed and tempo and trust our instincts.” “You know where you’ve got to go mentally and physically.”

During the final weekend of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, Smith’s career will be remembered alongside many others, such as that of All Blacks greats Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Dane Coles, and Beauden Barrett.

Throughout his final weeks wearing the black jersey, he has been careful not to let his emotions get the better of him, but he is fully aware of the significance of the journey.

“Being small, it means everything to me,” the speaker said. My hometown is a tiny town. I was undersized, and many people had serious doubts about me. However, there were also those who had a great deal of faith in me, who inspired me to set lofty goals and gave me the self-assurance to say, “You can do it if you want to play for your country and wear the black jersey.” Nothing is better than being able to pull it on as often as I have been fortunate enough to do.

“That’s why I play, that’s why I wake up every day, that’s why I train as hard as I do and focus and set goals. It’s because I want to wear that jersey again.

“It’s such a special and limited time you get in the jersey and I just want to have no regrets.

“Pulling it on, that cloak, the black cloak and the silver fern on your chest, it makes you think of family, all the pain. But then you look around and see the other brothers in black, you sing the anthem, you do the haka, and then the whistle goes and to be a part of that legacy just means a lot.”

Smith is keeping things in perspective while managing the game’s emotional and physical demands.

“It’s a really big game, but it’s also very unique, and we’re trying to keep it as normal as we can.” Given the high stakes, however, this is the game to throw everything at it, run out of gas, and see where the cards fall.

“We have a chance now that we’re in the big dance. I’ve been trying to give the jersey the love, respect, and energy it deserves, and this was the opportunity I wanted—to nail it every day, every week. and our nation, doing our best to represent them.


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