Smith better with age – Latimer

Date published: August 2 2013

Chiefs flanker Tanerau Latimer knows his duel with Brumbies forager George Smith will play a huge role in Saturday's final in Hamilton.

Chiefs flanker Tanerau Latimer knows his battle with Brumbies forager George Smith will have a huge bearing on the outcome of Saturday's final in Hamilton.

And the 28-year-old, who played five Tests for the All Blacks, is relishing the prospect of facing the Wallaby veteran who won the man-of-the-match award in the Brumbies' semi-final victory over the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend.

“George Smith is the man and it is going to be a tough day but if I get the nod I'm going to get in there and mix it up with him and I'd say Sammy [Cane] will do the same thing if he gets the nod,” Latimer told Fairfax Media.

“We're looking forward to a great challenge and it's going to be big, but you wouldn't want anything else, would you?”

Latimer described the 33-year-old Smith as being like wine – “the older it gets the more mature and better it gets.”

“He's so cunning and like I said we've got to get in there and mix it with him and not give him too much space.

“We've got to watch out for the old dog. If you don't clean him out he'll just pick some fruits up at the next ruck.”

Smith's dominance at the breakdowns played a huge role in helping the Brumbies claiming their shock win over the Bulls but Latimer is wary of other threats amongst the Canberra-based side's forwards.

“The Bulls played their style [against the Brumbies] and we've practised how we want to play them and obviously they are a bit threat – not just George, but their whole forward pack,” he added.

“They get on the ball hard so we've just got to get low at that breakdown and clean them out.”