Time has come to drop Aaron Smith says John Hart

Aaron Smith after receiving a yellow card during the Dublin victory. Photo / Dan Sheridan Photosport
Aaron Smith after receiving a yellow card during the Dublin victory. Photo / Dan Sheridan Photosport

The All Blacks were right to pick Aaron Smith for the Dublin test, but the time has come for the star halfback to be dropped.

That's the call from former All Black coach John Hart, who has also warned that poor individual discipline could bring down Steve Hansen's side.

Hart raved about the All Blacks' defensive effort and Beauden Barrett's all round game, when interviewed by the Radio Sport Breakfast.

"It was a victory for the leadership - they haven't really been put under that pressure in a heavy way like that before and they came through," he said.

"But I don't think the All Blacks were as smart as they have been in previous games and the form of Aaron Smith has to be a concern.

"He certainly had a very average game compared to TJ Perenara who came off the bench and repeated his form.

"I don't think you can criticise them for picking Smith for Chicago. He wasn't out of form, it was a disciplinary situation. He was given another chance (in Dublin) and the selection panel has been consistent in doing that.

"However, I think he's had two chances, hasn't played well, and Perenara's form has been very impressive."

Hart said Barrett was "outstanding" on defence and attack at No. 10, and in attack when moved to fullback.

"Our physicality was outstanding - they ran into a brick wall," he said.
"But I don't think the Irish had the ability to open up the game. They didn't have the steppers - that's where the game was won.

"(Hansen) would be concerned because there was something like 30 penalties against them in the two games against Ireland. It's an individual issue with players not applying themselves to the rules from time to time. It could be very, very costly."

- NZ Herald

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