Top 14 Orange
All Blacks star Conrad Smith eager for work at struggling Pau
ESPN staff
December 17, 2015
© Iroz Gaizka/AFP/Getty Images

All Blacks great Conrad Smith insists he is ready for the challenge of turning Pau around following the French club's poor start to the season.

Smith arrived in France earlier this week before fronting the media on Thursday ahead of Pau's European Challenge Cup match against Newport-Gwent Dragons.

Pau currently sit last in their European pool and are third from bottom in the Top 14, highlighting the scale of the task that awaits Smith and another All Blacks back, Colin Slade.

"I've dealt with expectations a lot being with the All Blacks, you realise you can only do your job," Smith said. "I'll just be concentrating on what I can do to help the team.

"It'll take time, but I'm impatient. I've continued training since the World Cup. This has been a long time coming, I signed at the end of last year."

Off the field, Smith's other great challenge will be learning the language.

"I've always wanted to learn another language, I've been having lessons all year," he said. "It's very fast, and quite overwhelming, but I'm certainly committed to learning the language."

All Blacks Dan Carter and Ma'a Nonu were given time to adjust to their new surroundings by Racing 92 and Toulon, respectively, but Smith could well slot straight into the centres against the Dragons this weekend.

"There will be changes and we will be using Saturday as a performance to prepare for a very important game against La Rochelle in the Top 14," Pau coach Simon Mannix said.

"Conrad didn't arrive until Monday because his flight was delayed but he is potentially going to be part of the team and Colin Slade will be on board," Mannix said.

"They are two outstanding footballers but I've got a lot of other good footballers who didn't play in Newport with a mind to using the home game to prepare correctly for La Rochelle.

"We will see how Conrad is and he has had a lot of time off since the World Cup final but I know he is very excited about the next chapter of his illustrious career here in Pau and I am sure he will be in good nick.

"We'd like to have him involved because it would be great for him to run out in front of our supporters at home. It'd be nice to get him a few minutes before La Rochelle."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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