The great Ben Smith (yes, overused word but appropriate in this case) will go to the World Cup – but maybe only as a bench player or a squad member.

That partly depends on how Sevu Reece and, in particular, George Bridge are judged against the Wallabies and, more importantly, whether the All Blacks' brains trust are of the mind that 33-year-old Smith has hit the invisible wall that sometimes quietly fells international backs – or whether he just needs more time.

I tend towards the former, while acknowledging the talent of the man. In three tests since returning from

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