By Gregor Paul in Sydney

The beauty of rugby players as far as potentially distracting scandals go, is that they can be spectacularly insular with a phenomenal capacity to compartmentalise.

In the build up to a test, the All Blacks live in a bubble. The Wallabies would be much the same as would most high performance athletes - it's how things have to be for them - a cocooned existence of routine that doesn't stretch much beyond, eat, train, sleep, play.

The downside to this life is that most players don't make particularly thrilling dinner guests. They aren't likely to ever be considered stunning company with the sort of worldliness and diversity of knowledge to be enthralling raconteurs.


The upside is that it is almost beyond comprehension what sort of event would have to occur for most players to be distracted during a test week. When the All Blacks are wheeled out for their media commitments and occasionally asked about matters making the news headlines, their stock standard response of them having no real knowledge because they are just in town to play footy, is in no way an act.

That really is the how things are for most players which is why this latest round of kefuffle with Aaron Smith will have precisely zero impact on the ability of the All Blacks to do what they want to do against the Wallabies on Saturday night.

To those who live more connected lives, it is a natural assumption to imagine that a story involving a key All Black making global headlines for reasons other than his work on the field, would be something that consumes the attention of the team.

But it won't be. In the same way it didn't derail the focus of the team the first time around and in the same way the Spygate verdict which is imminent and likely to be known before Saturday's test, won't have any impact on the players either.

Obviously the Spygate verdict will have impact upon the New Zealand Rugby Union's relationship with their Australian counterparts. Obviously it will impact upon the way the respective management teams of the All Blacks and Wallabies feel about each other, but the players...they will eat, train, sleep and play just like they always do.

The current news cycle will no doubt attract the attention of Smith, but it would be a surprise if it was able to do so to the extent that impacts upon his ability to perform at his world class best.

Surprising because most of what has been put into the public domain in the last 24 hours - bar the sordid details - has been known by the All Blacks management team since last October.

There were no new revelations or surprises and Smith and the All Blacks have been aware for some time that the story may erupt again. While it won't be something he's enjoying, that famed ability to compartmentalise will kick in and for the next 48 hours Smith will be amazingly singly-focused.