Smith ready to return against Pumas
August 26, 2012
Conrad Smith is ready to return against the Pumas © Getty Images
Conrad Smith will make his comeback for the All Blacks against Argentina in Wellington in a fortnight.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen confirmed that Smith would be fit to regain his No.13 shirt for the Rugby Championship clash after recovering from a detached retina. The news is a big boost for the All Blacks with Sonny Bill Williams bidding a winning farewell to the team in their 22-0 defeat of Australia at the weekend. Williams is moving to Japan for a short stint before he returns to the NRL in Australia.
"We always knew that was the timetable for Conrad's return, and obviously with Sonny going it's not a bad swap," said Hansen. "We're confident in his fitness, and he's proven before he can come straight back in and do the job, and that's what we'll be doing."
Hansen also confirmed that lock Luka Romano suffered a knock to a shoulder during the All Blacks' second successive win over the Wallabies in this year's Rugby Championship at the weekend. Meanwhile prop Tony Woodcock is expected to have recovered from his rib injury in time to face the Pumas in Wellington.
Despite dominating the clash in Auckland and securing the Bledisloe Cup for a tenth successive year, the All Blacks are targeting further improvements and Hansen insists they have yet to produce the performances they aspire to.
"We're trying to play a game that's got high intensity and high accuracy, and we just haven't quite managed the high accuracy yet," said.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures takes in a fiery East Midlands derby and all the action from the Aviva Premiership and Top 14
The rolling maul is becoming an increasingly potent attacking weapon. Conor O'Shea looks at the difficulties of stopping it
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton