Ben Smith expecting plenty of Irish fire in Chicago

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Lynn McConnell     28 Oct 2016     Getty Images

Smith said he could remember the All Blacks being under the pump almost from the start of the game.


"We were really, really lucky to escape out of that game on the right end and I just think it showed how passionate the Irish are.

"They were really physical that day and I'm expecting more again this week," he said.

The double-header with a week between in Rome meant both teams would take something away from the first game and prepare knowing a little more about each other going into the second game in Dublin on November 19.

Smith said an end-of-year tour provided mixed emotions as a father and being away from home for a month. It was tough leaving little ones but that was tempered by going to a city like Chicago which was 'a pretty awesome place', he said.

Smith was in the outing in Chicago two years ago and said his memory was one of the United States embracing the whole rugby concept and at Soldier Field the crowd had got right in behind their team and this time around he was sure there would be some support for Ireland.

"I think it will be an awesome occasion," he said.

The distractions that a non-rugby, but definite sports city, like Chicago could offer was not hard to keep on top of.

It was possible to use the differences as a good thing. On a day off there were times when it was possible to appreciate being in Chicago but there were also times when knuckling down to do the work required for the Test took over.

"I think it's just a case of getting a good balance of when you can venture out and have a look at different things," he said.