The senior statesman of the All Blacks midfield, Conrad Smith can call on both skills and smarts to achieve success. His sund rugby brain, firm defence and ability to run great lines and spark his backline colleagues means that he leads by example in any side for which he plays. As a centre Smith stands out with his pace, anticipation, ability to read a game and in marshalling a defensive pattern.
His inspirational captaincy of the Hurricanes in 2014 was an integral part of the team’s renaissance, along with his robust defence and ability to put his teammates into space.
Impressive in 2011 – he featured in 10 Tests last year including six RWC 2011 matches – he has taken big strides for the Hurricanes in 2012 Investec Super Rugby as both a player and the captain.
His uncle and great-uncle were both All Blacks and this Smith was an age-grade cricketer as well for Taranaki. Away from rugby, he is a lawyer and a popular, if unorthodox, newsreader for Small Blacks TV.
He broke his leg in the second match of the Hurricanes' 2006 Rebel Sport Super 14 campaign but fought back hard, eventually winning a place on the All Blacks end of year tour to Europe.
He entered the Test arena in 2004 as a slightly built centre with the determination to have a big impact in the midfield. Eschewing the modern hit-it-up style, Smith demonstrates an ability to exploit the gap, an elusive burst of speed and a canny passing game.
Known to teammates as ‘Snake’ for his ability to slide through defences, Smith has vision and the skill to set up his outside flyers when his own attacking options become limited.
He graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor of Law with Honours, but has put any legal career on hold to concentrate on his bright rugby future. His uncle Alan Smith played three Tests for the All Blacks between 1967–1970.
Smith has represented no other first-class national team but was a member of New Zealand Universities in 2004.
In 2007 Smith suffered injury setbacks, but in 2008 continued his rise through the All Blacks ranks with a series of strong performances for the Hurricanes.
He would play 12 tests that year, and in 2009 continued his sparkling relationship with fellow Hurricanes Ma'a Nonu starting in nine tests.
In 2010 Smith continued to cement himself as the All Blacks first choice centre, a welcome situation for test selectors who had struggled to find a replacement for former captain Tana Umaga after he retired.
13/11/04 v Italy at Rome
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2003 v Bay of Plenty
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2004 v Cats
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• Scored a try with his first touch of the ball in his first Test match against Italy. His second Test match was the All Blacks demolition of France in Paris.
• Made just one appearance off the bench in his first season of Rebel Sport Super 12 in 2004.
• His great uncle Jack Walter was a seven-match All Black in 1925.
• Played age-group cricket for Central Districts in 1994–1995 and for Taranaki between 1993–1999.