Smith ready for Folau showdown

Date published: October 29 2015

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All Blacks full-back Ben Smith is relishing his duel with Wallabies counterpart Israel Folau in Saturday's Rugby World Cup Final at Twickenham.

Both players have played important roles in their respective teams' road to the final and although Folau has been in the spotlight in recent weeks due to an ankle injury and concerns about his form, Smith is a big admirer of the former NRL star.

"He's a great rugby player, someone that I've tracked crossing over from rugby league to rugby union," Smith said of Folau.

"He's made a big impact on the Australian team. He's someone we'll have to be aware of this weekend. 

"We do that by getting everything right in our own camp. He's definitely one of the players Australia look to when things get tough."

Smith, who led the Highlanders to Super Rugby success earlier this year, is keen to make his mark on Saturday's final but expects a big challenge from Australia who, like New New Zealand, are aiming to win the World Cup for a third time.

"A few things this year have fallen into place," he added.

"We've given ourselves an opportunity this weekend. We know what's coming but we're excited by that.

"Both set ups I've been in this year with the Highlanders and All Blacks have made me a better rugby player with the coaching I've received.

"I haven't looked back too much, more been concentrating on what's in-front of me. 

"Maybe after everything is all finished up I'll be able to reflect in the summer but for now it's about trying to nail everything that's ahead of me. Then I know I've given it everything."

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