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Smith: It's the way we are

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Sportal.co.nz     23 Sep 2011     Getty Images

Centre Smith believes the All Blacks' stance reflected the type of people New Zealanders were.

"We can be passionate about something but we don't create a song and dance. I'm not saying the French do but they are a lot more extroverted with the way they show it and other countries are the same," Smith said.

"We talk about it a little bit. We can be boiling inside and really motivated but we don't have to show it."

"As long as the passion is there, we hope it is there, and you can certainly notice it in the build-up. The way the whole country is going it does rub off on the players."

Smith said the expectation on the All Blacks to succeed in every game was something players learned to deal with.

"In a strange way you enjoy the challenge, that's why we're here," he said.

"We're the sort of players in one way or another we have come through a lot of hardships and that's taken different forms for each guy. If you don't enjoy the challenge you don't last long."

The players enjoyed going out onto the field with that expectation and it was just part-and-parcel of the jersey, Smith added.

Changes to the side, such as that which had seen relative newcomer Israel Dagg replace 98-Test veteran Mils Muliaina were par for the course.

It was a case of having to learn to deal with changes to the side, Smith said. He had been more affected when Ma'a Nonu, who played inside him most often, was missing. It was something that – once the selection decision had been made – had to be applied at training.

"It's something you try to find motivation from and you try to help him (Dagg) out as much as possible," Smith said.

It was not seen as a warning to other senior players that their places were up for grabs because that was always the case in the All Blacks, Smith added.

"If you're not up to your game there's usually one or two keen to fill your role so it's something we've always been aware of," he said.