‘We were really lucky to escape’ – Smith

Date published: October 28 2016

All Blacks full-back Ben Smith remembers their injury-time win in Dublin the last time they played Ireland well.

The last time New Zealand played Ireland, the All Blacks were able steal the game at the death to win 24-22. Smith said he remembers his side being under pressure from the very start of the game.

"We were really, really lucky to escape out of that game on the right end and I just think it showed how passionate the Irish are," Smith told allblacks.com.

"They were really physical that day and I'm expecting more again this week," he said.

Smith said an end-of-year tour provided mixed emotions as a father, being away from home for a month. It was tough leaving little ones but that was tempered with going to a city like Chicago which was "a pretty awesome place", Smith said.

Smith took part in the outing in Chicago two years ago and said the United States really embraced the rugby concept. And at Soldier Field the crowd got right behind their team and this time around he was sure there would be some support for Ireland.

"I think it will be an awesome occasion," he said.

Smith said there were definite distractions in Chicago but they needed to strike a balance between hard graft and seeing the sights. 

"I think it's just a case of getting a good balance of when you can venture out and have a look at different things," he said.