New Zealand: Aaron Smith lashes out at negative press surrounding the All Blacks

Dylan Coetzee

Star All Blacks scrum-half Aaron Smith has accused the New Zealand sports press of being over the top in their reaction to a string of disappointing results from the three-time world champions.

The men in black began their series against Ireland in New Zealand in expectant fashion by thrashing them 42-19.

However, they went on to lose the next two games to suffer a series defeat against Ireland in New Zealand for the first time in their history.

New Zealand’s all-time low

Ultimately, it also resulted in them dropping to an all-time low of fourth in the world rankings.

Needless to say, it was not taken well by the local press with widespread calls for change in the team’s leadership group.

While Smith acknowledges that the All Blacks have not been at their best, he’s adamant the reaction from those outside the team have been way over the top.

“I’ve got a lot of love for Fozzie (Ian Foster) … you always feel for the men in the room. You know they care, and to see a lot of the bad stuff around him and Sam Cane, it’s hurtful and it’s actually gone… it’s ridiculous how ruthless it’s actually been,” Smith told Stuff.

“I feel for them as men. We’re backing them and it’s up to us in the next two weeks to put a bit of pride back in the jersey for ourselves, but also the people who have been under the squeeze the most.”

Aaron Smith tired of the “noise”

Despite all the negativity, Smith is confident the All Blacks have what it takes to bounce back in the Rugby Championship.

“The last two weeks there has definitely been a lot of outside noise,” he added.

“As a group, we had a good meeting on Monday, and a lot of it is around these are the right people in the room and us players have to do our part, get our stuff sorted, get our preparation right.

“There’s nothing better than the challenge of playing South Africa in South Africa, we know what’s coming, and it’s up to us as players to own our part of it and get our own stuff right.

“The noise is the noise. The pressure of wearing the black jersey, or coaching it, is big. We know that, and it’s every time. We’ve had a couple of results not go our way, but it wasn’t for lack of effort as a group. The two days in Wellington were positive steps towards what we’re going to put out in South Africa.”