Aaron Smith: All Blacks scrum-half picks his ALL-TIME backline

All Blacks great Aaron Smith has revealed his all-time backline with the team with four New Zealanders, two South Africans and an Irishman picked. Smith has played at the highest level for over a decade, debuting in 2012 for the All Blacks and has played with and against some of the game's greats.  Credit: Alamy
All Blacks great Aaron Smith has revealed his all-time backline with the team with four New Zealanders, two South Africans and an Irishman picked. Smith has played at the highest level for over a decade, debuting in 2012 for the All Blacks and has played with and against some of the game's greats. Credit: Alamy

All Blacks great Aaron Smith has revealed his all-time backline with a team of seven that contains four New Zealanders, two South Africans and an Irishman.

Smith has featured at the highest level for over a decade, debuting in 2012 for New Zealand, and has played with and against some of the game’s greats.

The 34-year-old has now revealed his best backline, including three former teammates.

Long time teammate

Unsurprisingly, Smith has opted for long-time All Blacks and Highlanders teammate Ben Smith at full-back. The pair won Super Rugby and a World Cup together. During that time, Ben was widely regarded as the best full-back in the world.

Smith picked Springboks flyer Bryan Habana on the right wing, having played several times against the former World Rugby Player of the Year in Super Rugby and at Test level.

The only Northern Hemisphere player to feature is former British and Irish Lions and Ireland centre Brian O’Driscoll, who Smith would have encountered during the early stages of his career.

The Ireland legend is joined in the midfield by fellow All Blacks centurion Ma’a Nonu. Smith won the World Cup alongside Nonu in 2015, while they were also teammates during the centre’s short stint at the Highlanders.

All Blacks and Springboks legends

Jonah Lomu takes up the other wing spot, and the late All Blacks legend is the only player in the side Smith did not play with or against, and we can all understand why he made the cut.

At fly-half, Smith has selected a fourth New Zealander in Dan Carter. It’s another unsurprising selection after the success the pair enjoyed in 2015. He also played against the former Crusaders pivot in Super Rugby.

Fourie du Preez completes Smith’s all-time backline. The 76-Test cap Springbok clashed a handful of times, most notably in the 2015 Rugby World Cup semi-final, which was ultimately Du Preez’s final international.

Aaron Smith looks with the referee as Fourie Du Preez (Captain) prepares the scrum during the IRB RWC 2015 Ð Semi Final 1 for Match 45, between South Africa v New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium Credit: Alamy
Aaron Smith looks with the referee as Fourie Du Preez (Captain) prepares the scrum during the IRB RWC 2015 Ð Semi Final 1 for Match 45, between South Africa v New Zealand at Twickenham Stadium Credit: Alamy

The final selection in the backline shouldn’t come as a surprise as Smith replied to the official Rugby World Cup Twitter account in 2021, which posed the question of who the best scrum-half is to play at a Rugby World Cup.

He replied, saying: ‘There can only be one! #FourieDuPreez’

Smith revealed the seven members of his team on Twitter during another ‘#NugChats’ where he invites followers to ask questions.

The topics he touches on range from his inspiration, workouts, pre-game rituals and more.

In his latest ‘#NugChats’, Smith also revealed that he would probably be a personal trainer at a gym if he hadn’t made it as a professional rugby player.

He also picked out his three favourite Welsh players: Alun Wyn Jones, Shane Williams and Gareth Edwards.

He also selected Julian Savea’s score against France in the quarter-final of the 2015 World Cup as the one try he witnessed that had him gobsmacked.

Smith also said that his biggest rugby regret was diving for a try at schoolboy level and breaking his collarbone in doing so.

READ MORE: Quade Cooper opens up on his scrap with Richie McCaw all those years ago

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