Smith wary of dangerous Wallabies
August 25, 2011
Smith stretches the Wallabies defence during their victory at Eden Park on August 6 © Getty Images
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New Zealand centre Conrad Smith insists Australia will still pose a considerable threat in Saturday's Tri-Nations decider in Brisbane despite the absence of James O'Connor and Matt Giteau.
O'Connor misses the clash at Suncorp Stadium due to a one-Test suspension imposed after he missed the unveiling ceremony for the World Cup squad while Giteau has been omitted from the squad.
In O'Connor's ansence, Adam Ashley-Cooper moves to the right wing with Anthony Fainga'a coming in at outside centre to strike up a fresh midfield partnership with Pat McCabe. But Smith is still vary of the threat posed by their trans-Tasman rivals.
"They all have their strengths and weaknesses. We don't look at individuals too much to be honest. Whoever they replace them with, they are a very good team in terms of the way they all play as a team and as a back line especially. That's what we're focusing on more," he said. "Australia pose the most [threat] on attack and they ask the most questions of you [of all international teams].
"They are definitely a massive threat in that regard. Other teams offer challenges in other areas of the game and different players might say different things but to me the Aussies are the best there is.
"It's the way they interact as a back line that poses the biggest threat. The fact that Matt Giteau isn't there is probably a sign that other guys are doing a better job than him at the moment."
Smith has never faced midfield combination McCabe and Fainga'a as a pair but has played against them both individually.
"They'll be a bit of a handful and proud of their defensive efforts. They are pretty direct on attack. That's something we haven't looked at a lot but I'm sure that's what they'll bring to the table," he said.
Meanwhile tighthead prop Owen Franks has demanded the scrum improve from the display they turned in in the 30-14 victory at Eden Park on August 6.
"It was not up to our standards," he said. "There were a few different combinations - maybe it was just a bit disjointed. I guess the scrum works best when the guys are working with each other more. There was a bit of rustiness."
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