Smith set to wing it for All Blacks

Date published: June 5 2013

Ben Smith may be the form full-back in New Zealand, but he will have to be content with a place on the wing for the All Blacks.

Ben Smith may be the form full-back in New Zealand, but he will have to be content with a place on the wing for the All Blacks.

Smith has been a shining light for the Highlanders in an otherwise woeful Super Rugby campaign, managing to make a consistently strong impact despite those around him failing to get going.

However, this top form will not see him wear the number fifteen jersey for the All Blacks against France on Saturday.

“I see him capable of starting in three (positions), and that's why I don't like the utility tag,” All Black assistant coach Ian Foster said of Smith. “For us, it is probably a matter of where we have the best mix.

“Wing looks pretty likely this week.”

Israel Dagg, whose form has been mixed this term, is likely to be retained at the back, and while this may cause some consternation among observers, for his part Smith is not too fazed where he plays, as long as he is on the park.

“At the moment, I'm just happy playing anywhere,” he said.

“I think full-back fits in well with wing, I think those positions are pretty similar these days because you work as a back-three unit.

“I don't think I've put my name on one position. If I get the opportunity, I'm really looking forward to having a go.”

New Zealand are likely to make use of a youthful half-back pairing in the first Test, with Dan Carter nursing a finger injury and Piri Weepu still recovering from a concussion suffered last week. As a result, Aaron Cruden will wear the number ten jersey in Carter's absence, with Aaron Smith the man touted to stand in for Weepu.

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