All Black recalls ‘escape’ against Ireland

Ben Smith (Getty)
Ben Smith (Getty)

Cape Town - All Blacks fullback Ben Smith recalls their last encounter with Ireland in Dublin when they scored a late try to win 24-22.

Smith said he remembers his side being under pressure from the very start of the game in November 2013.

Ireland flyhalf Johnny Sexton missed a late penalty which would have given his side an unassailable eight-point lead, only to miss and see the All Blacks counter up-field to score, before Aaron Cruden slotted the winning conversion from the corner.

"We were really, really lucky to escape out of that game on the right end and I just think it showed how passionate the Irish are," Smith told the All Blacks.com website ahead of his side’s scheduled Test against Ireland in Chicago on November 5.

"They were really physical that day and I'm expecting more again this week," he said.

Smith said an end-of-year tour provided mixed emotions as a father, being away from home for a month. It was tough leaving little ones but that was tempered with going to a city like Chicago which was "a pretty awesome place", Smith said.

Smith took part in the outing in Chicago two years ago and said the United States really embraced the rugby concept. And at Soldier Field the crowd got right behind their team and this time around he was sure there would be some support for Ireland.

"I think it will be an awesome occasion," he said.

Smith said there were definite distractions in Chicago but they needed to strike a balance between hard graft and seeing the sights.

"I think it's just a case of getting a good balance of when you can venture out and have a look at different things," he said.

On their year-end tour, the All Blacks are also scheduled to play Italy (Rome, November 12), second Test against Ireland (Dublin, November 19) and France (Paris, November 26).

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