Ben Smith (rugby union)
Smith as fullback
|Full name||Benjamin Robert Smith|
|Date of birth||1 June 1986|
|Place of birth||Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 1 1⁄2 in)|
|Weight||93 kg (14 st 9 lb; 205 lb)|
|School||King's High School, Dunedin|
|Rugby union career|
|Position||Fullback / Wing / Centre / Halfback|
|New Zealand No.||1100|
|Men's rugby sevens|
|Representing New Zealand|
|2010 Delhi||Team competition|
Ben Smith (born 1 June 1986) is a rugby union player who plays for the Highlanders in the Super Rugby competition, for Otago in the ITM Cup, and for New Zealand. He plays as a Fullback and Wing, but can also play at Centre and Halfback. He was a key member of the 2015 Rugby World Cup-winning team. Smith is currently vice-captain of the All Blacks, having been appointed in 2016.
Born in Dunedin and educated at King's High School, Smith progressed through the junior ranks in the city before making his Air New Zealand Cup debut in 2008. He was one of the break-out stars of the 2009 Air New Zealand Cup, scoring six tries for Otago en route earning a year-end selection for the New Zealand national team (All Blacks). In the 2010 ITM Cup, however, he struggled to make the same impact as Otago endured a nightmare season and bottom-of-the-table finish, while Smith missed several matches while at the Commonwealth Games in India.
Shifted back to his preferred position of fullback for the 2011 Super Rugby season, earned praise from coach Jamie Joseph and consideration for another All Blacks callup. He started every Highlander game for the third season running and added another two tries to his career total. In 2013 he continued as Highlanders fullback and was selected for the All Blacks to play on the wing against France. On 5 December 2013, Smith won the Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year award for the 2013 Investec Super Rugby season.
In May 2015 Smith played his 100th Super Rugby game against the Western Force.
In 2009 Smith was included in the 33-member All Blacks squad for the 2009 Autumn Internationals, ahead of veteran All Black winger Joe Rokocoko. Smith made his test debut for the All Blacks against Italy on 14 November 2009 at the San Siro, Milan, which the All Blacks won 20–6. He scored his first All Blacks try against the UK Barbarians on the last game of the tour which the Barbarians ran out winners 25–18 at Twickenham, London, on 5 December 2009.
Smith didn't figure into All Black squads in 2010, but was selected for the rugby sevens squad which competed at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, where he helped New Zealand to a gold medal finish.
In 2012 Smith got recalled for the All Blacks.
In June 2013, he played & featured in all 3 games against France in the French NZ Tour Series, on the right wing. In the first game of the 3 Test Series at Auckland's Eden Park, he set up a try to Aaron Smith (in the 32nd minute) and was awarded man-of-the-match award. In the second game on 15 June at Christchurch's Rugby League Park, he scored a try in the 48th minute of the game. The final game of 3 Test Series, he again scored another in the 35th minute at New Plymouth's Yarrow Stadium.
In August 2013, during the 2013 Rugby Championship, Smith scored 3 tries in the All Blacks 47–29 win against the Wallabies at Sydney's ANZ Stadium. The following week when the All Blacks faced the Wallabies at Wellington's Westpac Stadium, he scored 2 tries to help New Zealand win 27–16 and to retain the Bledisloe Cup.
In October 2013 following the close of the Rugby Championships, Smith was awarded with the record for the most tries in a Rugby Championship/Tri Nations series, scoring 8 tries in 6 matches.
In 2014, Smith played many tests at fullback, including the series against England due to the injury of regular fullback Israel Dagg. Dagg'a struggles with injury saw Smith take the 15 jersey for himself during the year.
On 30 August 2015, he was named as one of the 31 members of the New Zealand Rugby World Cup team.
Smith played in all seven of New Zealand's games at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, starting as fullback in all but one match (against Namibia, where he was substituted on for Colin Slade). He scored two tries, one against Namibia in their second pool match, and one against Tonga in their final pool game. He was awarded man of the match for his efforts in the semi-final against South Africa. In the final against Australia, he was yellow carded for a tip tackle, becoming the first player to do so in a Rugby World Cup Final. He returned to the pitch to help the All Blacks to a 34–17 victory, as they became the first team ever to take back-to-back titles, as well as the first to win three Rugby World Cups.
In 2016, after the international or complete retirements of Richie McCaw and Dan Carter (as well as Tony Woodcock, Keven Mealamu, Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu), Smith was named as the vice-captain of the All Blacks, a role previously held by Conrad Smith. Smith was shifted to right wing for the June series against Wales to accommodate for Israel Dagg who had returned from injury. Smith was moved back for fullback for the 2016 Rugby Championship with Dagg as the right wing, the two players finishing as highest try scorers in the competition- having scored 5 tries across the 6 matches of the competition each.
During the 2016 game vs Ireland in Dublin, Ben Smith also provided cover at halfback while Aaron Smith was sin binned in the first half of the match. Smith was injured with a broken finger towards the end of the match, ending his international year. Smith scored 8 tries throughout 2016, third-to-highest for the All Blacks behind new fly-half Beauden Barrett and Israel Dagg.
- Donnell, Hayden. "Sports: The Unlikely Rise of All Black Ben Smith". Thespinoff.co.nz. Retrieved 2016-06-22.
- Hinton, Marc (5 June 2013). "Ben Smith shaping as pivotal to ABs backline". Rugby Heaven. Fairfax. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
- Rattue, Chris (20 November 2016). "Player Ratings: All Blacks v Ireland". NZ Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 20 November 2016.
- Burbon, Nathan (14 May 2011). "Highlanders bounce back with a vengeance". Southland Times. Fairfax. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
- Mortimer, James (5 June 2013). "Ben Smith to continue the evolution of an All Blacks three-quarter" (Press release). New Zealand Rugby Union. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- Burdon, Nathan. "Ben Smith to bring up 100th game for Highlanders against Western Force". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
- rugbydump.com (17 August 2013). "The All Blacks crush the Wallabies in Bledisloe One in Sydney" (Press release). rugbydump.com. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
- rugbydump.com (24 August 2013). "All Blacks retain Bledisloe Cup with Wellington win over the Wallabies" (Press release). rugbydump.com. Retrieved 24 August 2013.
- Sydney Morning Herald (29 September 2013). "Smith puts All Blacks in the box seat for title" (Press release). Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 September 2013.