All Black halfback Aaron Smith will want to forget the events of the past two months, but it is going to take time and a little patience.
The rugby-loving public of New Zealand and its media are ruthless when it comes to the performances of the 15 lucky men that put on the All Blacks jersey each week. Steve Hansen‘s men are expected to win each match and make a statement in doing so. When it doesn’t go so well, everyone hears about it.
An Ugly Two Months For Aaron Smith
In the case of what Aaron Smith has been through since that fateful morning at Christchurch airport, the word ruthless simply isn’t an accurate description of how some in the media and the public reacted.
It was an absolute circus of events that turned Smith’s world upside down in the days following. Forced to front the media, a tearful and apologetic Smith asked for privacy and admitted that he deeply regretted how his actions had impacted both the All Blacks, and his immediate family. Upon his return to New Zealand, Smith was hounded by waiting media at both Auckland and Dunedin airports.
After serving his suspension following a hearing with the New Zealand Rugby Union, Smith returned to the All Blacks in time for their Northern Tour. Off the field, it’s been an ugly state of affairs for New Zealand Rugby, but the right changes have been made since the Chiefs incident and Smiths’ untimely blunder.
Aaron Smiths’ All Black Return
It was always going to be a difficult task fronting the country’s most viewed sports team too. Smiths’ form on the field in recent weeks has been telling of a player not quite in sync. A few things in terms of execution have been notable, but it’s Smiths’ body language out on the field in key moments that has caught more attention.
The man they called “nugget” has always shown a lot of passion on the field, but he’s never been quite as dejected in small moments of mistakes during matches that he appears to be at the moment.
Anyone close to Smith will tell you that his rugby career means almost everything to him. It’s his main priority, and it is that level of dedication that has seen the 28-year old become the best player in the world in his position. That claim, according to many, simply cannot be questioned.
If you want to look a little deeper, follow this stat. In his 57-matches for the All Blacks, Smith has been the run on starter for 54 of those. Smith also has 62-points under his belt at International level so far, not too shabby for a halfback.
Smith himself needs to give himself a little time and have faith that his fortunes will soon turn around. Given how good Smiths’ closest rival TJ Perenara has been this year, that is obviously easier said than done, but if nothing else, this saga has shown that Smith has the respect and acceptance of his All Black teammates despite what has happened.
Aaron Smith Is Still The Worlds’ Premier Halfback
In conclusion, Smith isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. With a deal under the NZRU through until 2019, Smiths’ time in the All Blacks is far from over. Right now, the 28-year old is going through a slump in form, that happens from time to time.
His leadership qualities and ability to command the All Black forward pack at breakdown time is crucial. Smith also possesses a deadly accurate, fast passing game, and this is critical to the functionality of the All Blacks back line.
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