When asked about the highlight of his rugby career, Ben Smith does not hesitate and it does not win the Rugby World Cup as you might expect. He talks to Paul Dwyer about his career for Highlanders in the second part of a three-part interview.
Smith said it was an "easy" choice to choose Highlanders' winning Super Rugby in 2015 as his career highlight.
The winner was the fulfillment of "so hard" work and despite many people who believed that Highlanders did not have the chance even after making it to the final against the hurricanes.
The only thing that resembled the feeling in Highlanders' changing rooms after the match was the feeling after the All Blacks won the 2015 World Cup.
Smith also spoke with Dywer about changes in culture at Highlanders since his debut and credited coaches Jaimie Joseph and Tony Brown, as well as Simon Culhane, building what became a strong culture in the club.
He questioned Joseph's approach to training at first, but when he got older he realized that the extreme training he put through the players was worth it.
When Brown arrived, he added a "little bit more" beyond what Joseph had already added to the team, and "random moves" he brought to the back line gave the team a point of difference.
Smith also talked about the lows in the 2013 season when Highlanders couldn't perform, despite signing superstars like Ma & apos; a Nonu and Brad Thorn.
He said looking at the team at the beginning of the season half of the team thought "right when are these playoffs?" before the team had earned the right to be there.
He said the team might lose some of its "old school values", but pointed out that it was on the losing side of a few tight games.