Wearing the ‘All Blacks’ shirt for more than ten years, Aaron Smith is aiming to follow in the footsteps of legends Don Carter and Richie McCabe and bid farewell with a new world crown. Let go of the 2019 World Cup debacle.
Whatever happens Saturday against world champions South Africa in Stade de France, Smith “doesn’t want to regret anything.” Twelve years later in black and 124 caps, the brilliant ‘scrum-half’ He’s actually living “his last week in full black” and “wants to make the most of it.”
At 34, the Highlanders’ perennial number 9, Dunedin’s franchise in Super Rugby, will be looking to complete the circle with a second world title after the one they achieved in 2015.
Eight years ago, as Smith explains, he was nothing more than a “young hooligan.” He took selfies with superstars Richie McCaw and Don Carter on the way to his last title.
Aaron Smith is now one of the key players for the Men in Black as they aim for a fourth title in France, along with current captain Sam Kane and second-rowers Brady Ridalic and Sam Whitelock in 2023. .
“This is my last week as an All Black. This is my last dance“Smith, who scored one of New Zealand’s seven tries in the 44-6 semi-final win over Argentina, took a side-step to avoid an opponent and another to clear, before smashing the ball.
“Even if it’s a little surreal coming into the finale, I’m thankful for this week“, smiled the first All Black of Maori descent to reach the 100-match mark.
It must be remembered that the New Zealanders were in trouble after losing their opening match against France (27-13). of the World Cup. Nearly two months later, they’re still there, knocking off the top-seeded Irish (28-24) in an exceptionally quality quarterfinal game.
To explain this rebirth, at the end of many troubled years, Smith had no choice but to lose to England in the semi-finals 19-7 in Japan four years ago.. It was the same rivalry that inspired him to extend his adventure with the Ferns shirt.
“I was disappointed by the failure“He recalled. We let the country down. As a player, you can’t control everything, but that’s why I’m still here: I wanted to fix the situation, we’ve made a step forward compared to last time. . This week will be a lot more fun, unlike 2019”.
“Honestly, I don’t think you’ll ever get over it. It will stay with you forever. Anyway, I didn’t get over it. “I’m an emotional person and I don’t hide my emotions…” he added.
On Saturday, there will undoubtedly be tears on the Stade de France pitch. Naturally, Aaron Smith wants them to be tears of joy To a mythical conclusion.
“Typical beer advocate. Future teen idol. Unapologetic tv practitioner. Music trailblazer.”