Smith ready for Australia finale

Date published: August 4 2015

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Conrad Smith admits there's something a little different about playing the Wallabies as he prepares for his final game in Australia.

The veteran All Black centre is in his final season of Test rugby before he heads to France to play for Pau next season.

While he will finish at the World Cup, he is currently part of the All Black squad for the Rugby Championship, as they prepare for a winner-takes-all clash in Sydney.

And with Australia also hoping to reclaim the Bledisloe Cup, which New Zealand have held for more than a decade, Smith is aiming to finish on a high in a country where he was heckled early on in his career.

"It will be something I miss," Smith told the New Zealand Herald.

"They're our brothers across the ditch and it's a pretty unique rivalry. I've grown to enjoy the games a lot and everything that comes with these games.

"There's something special about the Bledisloe games. Australia are the team we love to hate. It's a different rivalry with Australia and I'm sure they'd be the first to admit that themselves.

"You're always against an Australian side that's very passionate and they play really well there. I think back to the games I've had there and they're always particularly tough.

"They always start well at their home base and that's a factor we can prepare for.

"There's obviously a bigger picture around this year but it's the Bledisloe Cup and we want to hold on to it. We know how desperate they are to get it off us.

"On one of my early tests I was on the bench (in Sydney) and I've never been heckled quite like it. I had long hair at the time and they were saying, 'get a haircut' and 'who are ya' and all sorts.

"I look back now and I laugh but I know at the time, it was quite intimidating. It still sticks in my mind.

"I enjoy playing them and I enjoy the banter, particularly with the guys I've played against like Adam Ashley-Cooper. I suppose it's like all sports when you play Australians.

"There's plenty of niggle and the supporters love ribbing you more when you play in Sydney than what you get in Jo'burg. It's all part of it and it makes it enjoyable."

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