'It's always a nice thing to beat the Springboks' - All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith

  • 17/09/2017

Aaron Smith knows how it feels to lose a Test to South Africa - and he prefers the victories much, much more.

The All Blacks halfback was in imperious form against the Springboks on Saturday, laying on 47 of his trademark bullet passes and assisting a Rieko Ioane try as the world champions completed a 57-0 demolition.

In what was his 10th Test against the Boks and ninth win, Smith said the history of the sides' rivalry remained a major motivating factor.

That clearly had an effect on the South Africans, who hit the ground running until Ioane's 17th-minute try opened the floodgates.

The All Blacks then ran in another seven unanswered tries.

"It's always a nice thing, to beat South Africa - it's our biggest challenge, such a great history," the 28-year-old Smith said.

"It doesn't feel like there'd be that kind of scoreboard. It was a real physical game, coming at us all day and, in that first 20, we really saw a physicality and a tempo that we haven't seen this year.

"It was a bit like, oh God, here we go. Then we got a couple turnovers and were able to score tries, and maybe nullify that passion a bit."

With 15 Super Rugby games for the Highlanders and five Tests under his belt in 2017, Smith was given a rest for last week's 39-22 win over Argentina.

He said he'd been itching to hit the paddock since Monday.

"It was a long week, you never want a break, but what it gives you is that little bit of a spring in your step," the 65-Test Smith said.

Saturday's match marked the All Blacks' final home Test of 2017, with matches in Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Brisbane and Europe to come.

Smith said the Boks would be a completely different opponent on their home patch in three weeks, with the All Blacks required to quickly adapt.

They'd then have to keep energy levels high heading into November and northern Tests against France, Scotland and Wales.

NZN

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