Aaron Smith to be recalled for All Blacks-Springboks Test
Aaron Smith will be recalled to the starting line-up for New Zealand's Rugby Championship match against South Africa on Saturday.
Smith started the All Blacks' opening two victories against Australia, but was replaced at scrum-half by TJ Perenara for the hard-fought 39-22 win against Argentina on Saturday.
The All Blacks ran in six tries against the Pumas in New Plymouth, though the scoreline belies the difficulty of the victory with Argentina having led 22-15.
And head coach Steve Hansen feels his team would benefit from the return of Smith to the XV.
"I think we saw there is a difference between the speed of ball when Aaron's there," Hansen said on Sunday.
"He'll come back and I think that makes a difference to how we play."
Flanker Vaea Fifita marked his first All Blacks start by storming around the outside of Argentina and going over in the corner for a game-changing try that levelled the scores at 22-22.
Fifita is a formidable force with ball in hand, but Hansen is keen to see the 25-year-old help out in other areas and improve his understanding of how New Zealand play.
"We need him to be in the right places in the different structures, but that's normal," said Hansen.
"As he gets out there and understands the structures better, he's likely to be in the right places more often than not.
"But you can't just go out to the flank and wait for the ball to come to you. Sometimes, as a flanker, you've got to do the hard work too."
The Springboks won successive matches against Argentina before drawing 23-23 with Australia in Perth on Saturday.
Hansen has been impressed by their development as a unit and is wary of a tough challenge in Albany next weekend.
"Australia will probably be kicking themselves again at 20 points to 10 [up with 33 minutes to play], but South Africa are playing really well," said the All Blacks coach.
"They seem to be incredibly tight with each other, so they're obviously building something there from a culture point of view and that'll make them more dangerous."