Rugby World Cup: Aaron Smith hailed as 'absolute professional' as end of All Blacks career approaches

As he prepares to enter his final week as an All Black, Aaron Smith's contribution to the black jersey has been hailed.

Smith, 34, is one of a core of All Blacks bringing the curtain down on his career this week, finishing on the biggest stage with a Rugby World Cup final against South Africa on Sunday (NZ time).

With 124 caps since his debut in 2012, no All Blacks back has played more for New Zealand than Smith.

The halfback is one of All Blacks looking to win a second Webb Ellis Cup, after being part of the victorious 2015 side.

Away from the All Blacks, Smith played 185 games for the Highlanders, winning the title in 2015.

All Blacks defence coach Scott McLeod has had a front row seat for most of Smith's career, working together for club and country.

And now in preparation for his last game as an All Black, McLeod didn't hold back in his appraisal of Smith's legacy.

"He's a guy I've worked with for a long time," said McLeod. "He's got a special place in my heart, because of his passion.

"The way he applies himself every single day is for the betterment of the team. That's grown his legacy.

"He's an absolute professional, on and off the field. He gets his body right, he gets his mind right, and he gives it nothing short of 100 [percent] every single time.

"He's a player in my group in the defence. The passions he shows, the willingness is just contagious.

"I think the world of him, really."

Smith, along with Beauden Barrett, will join Japanese club Toyota next year, bringing to an end both of their respective All Blacks careers.