Tue, 04 Aug 2020

All Blacks using Rugby Championship as RWC audition

14 Jul 2019, 17:42 GMT+10

Cape Town - New Zealand utility back Ben Smith says the Rugby Championship will play a crucial role in their preparation for the Rugby World Cup in Japan later in the year.

Smith said one of the areas the side would be looking to improve on would be attacking against line speed and it was a case of ensuring they had the tools to pull out when teams were looking to bring pressure defensively on them while also having the ability to turn the pressure around.

Smith said he expected the All Blacks would still employ the two-sided attack which had developed when the now injured Damian McKenzie was able to step in at first receiver.

"You don't become predictable so other teams only defend one side of the rucks. I think the more you have a 15 or a 10, or whoever, owning both sides of the ruck the more effective your game is going to be," he told the All Blacks' official website.

"It's something I've been working on and it's something that I'm growing in my game."

There was no problem dealing with the task ahead of the side. They were not looking at the World Cup, rather at the immediate task for the team of performing well in the Rugby Championship.

"Every player wants to go forward and be part of this campaign whoever it is," added Smith.

"Against Argentina next week they will get the first opportunity and that's pretty exciting.

"As players that's what we look at a week-by-week sort of thing and preparing each week as well as we can to get out there and do the job for the rest of the team."

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