New Zealand 27 - 16 Australia, Rugby Championship
Challenges had 'a bit of dirt in' - Aaron Smith
August 25, 2013
New Zealand's Aaron Smith attacks the line, New Zealand v Australia, Bledisloe Cup, The Rugby Championship, Westpac Stadium, Wellington, August 24, 2013
Aaron Smith was a key figure for the All Blacks in Wellington © Getty Images

Australia paid Aaron Smith the ultimate compliment in the second Bledisloe Cup Test at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday, the Wallabies targeting the All Blacks scrum-half with cheap shots designed to put him off his game.

Smith said the Wallabies got to him at the breakdown early, and they had put "a bit of dirt in", but he and his team-mates weathered the storm and started to get their own game going to "sort themselves out pretty well". The aim once they gone on top of Australia had been to keep doing the basics well, Smith said.

"I never really thought we had it the whole way," he said, noting that New Zealand's second try, just before half-time, had given the All Blacks a buffer going in to the break and had allowed them room to assert their dominance in the second stanza.

Smith said he had enjoyed the sight of the All Blacks' forwards dominating the scrum, noting the pack had been talking loud and often while the Wallabies were silent. "There's no better feeling than seeing our pack walk all over theirs," he said.

Smith produced a solid personal contribution, and said his play behind the forwards reflected the fact he now felt more comfortable in the All Blacks team. He has adapted after his first call-up in 2012, but still he is happy just to be in the squad after a disappointing Super Rugby campaign with the Highlanders.

"The coaches had a lot of confidence in me and that gave me a lot of confidence as well, and I think I'm in that mental state of just having to do my role and into that mindset of playing what I see," he said.

New Zealand confirmed their trans-Tasman dominance in Wellington (video available only in Australia)
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