All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith is out to avenge last year's loss at Ellis Park.

The All Blacks' last defeat came at the hands of South Africa on the very turf the two sides are clashing on tomorrow morning, and Smith remembers the match all too well.

"I know a few of us are still pretty angry about last year. I know I am, and I can't wait."

Labelling the encounter as the biggest game of the year to date, Smith is raring to go after taking a short break to rest following the Highlanders' Super Rugby triumph.

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"Steve told me off a few times last week to slow down and use the recovery as a bit of a down time, but it was good this week to go full tilt again," Smith told media in the build up to the test.

"The break was good, but it's never good to watch games, watching someone wear your jersey is always pretty tough so very excited for this weekend."

Smith voiced his excitement of getting the chance to line up with Highlanders teammate Lima Sopoaga outside him at the highest level, with a clash at Ellis Park always hugely significant for the number nine.

"Closer to the game you feel the energy in the town pick up, and to play at Ellis Park is just amazing, one of the most beautiful rugby stadiums in the world - I've been there a couple of times now and every time is special."

Having not pulled on the black jersey since last November, Smith is all set to make his mark on the biggest stage.

"The excitement levels are definitely there, the energy's there and I just can't wait.

"It's going to be a thriller."