Aaron Smith happy with his new inside back partner

By Jamie Wall

Aaron Smith

All Black halfback Aaron Smith is excited about the prospect of partnering with rookie first five Jordie Barrett in the All Blacks’ next World Cup game against Namibia on Sunday.

“When you’ve got a guy like that who is a physical specimen and a hell of an athlete…it helps that he’s got a boot that can kick us out of trouble. It’s always nice when a team can dominate the game with the boot” he told Te Ao today from the All Blacks’ hotel in Tokyo Bay.

Smith finds himself back in the starting halfback position, but is likely to play only the first half, with Brad Weber set to finish the game like he did on Wednesday night against Canada.

TJ Perenara is also on the bench, however Steve Hansen confirmed that he is strictly there to cover first five. Smith joked that he liked the possibility of all three halfbacks being on the field at the same time, as Weber is also outside back cover in an emergency.

Smith also said that the Barrett brothers’ unique triple act was special for the team.

“Three brothers out of a family, that’s pretty special. The way they carry themselves, it’s not too in your face…they just want to be themselves and be quiet achievers.”

Smith also touched on the haka that the All Blacks have been performing, which has gained a lot of positive attention after captain Kieran Read led the challenge with Perenara in the first game against the Springboks.

“Yeah it’s been great mate, the work we’ve put in is showing. The boys are expressing themselves a lot more and you can feel the mana. We’re always trying to do it justice.”

The All Blacks meet Namibia on Sunday afternoon Tokyo time, with kickoff set for 5:45pm NZT.