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Smith's All Blacks redemption

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Sportal.co.nz     16 Sep 2012     Getty Images

Smith had been dropped to the reserves for breaking team protocol after the All Blacks' 21-5 win over Argentina in Wellington last weekend but he made an emphatic statement when he replaced Piri Weepu at halftime.

The scores were locked at 8-all midway through the second spell when Smith sidestepped and dummied through the Springboks for 25 metres to score an outstanding try which proved crucial to the outcome of the Test.

"It was definitely a better finish than start to the week," he said. "It was good to get out there and pay respect to the players and coaches.

"I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder after the mistake I made last week. It's definitely something I won't do again.

"I felt pretty bad about it so I was definitely out there to prove a point. I wanted to say sorry and make up for it.

"I wanted to be controlled in my attitude. I didn't want to get out there and be silly and try too hard. I just wanted to play my game."

Asked about the try, Smith said:" I saw a big African screaming across so I tried to step, slipped a tackle and the noise of the crowd got me going. I just backed my ability."

Smith said the consequences of losing the No 9 jersey had been painful.

"I couldn't even put up a fight. I just had to hand it over. I've definitely learnt from that.

"The whole thing gave me a good kick up the bum. This is where I want to be. This is the team I want to play for."

Smith was not so happy about not getting into the correct position to make the tackle when Bryan Habana scored his try.

"I was very disappointed with that. I put myself in the red a bit with that and I just needed to refocus. It was a wakeup call. I went in soft and thought my arm would do it but it didn't."

It was the Highlanders' No.9s first Test on his home ground and his seventh in all, and the try was his second in Test rugby.