Ben Smith: Top five moments

Getty Images     07 Feb 2017     Getty Images

2009: Dashing Debutant

After impressing for the Highlanders and Otago for a number of seasons at wing, fullback or centre, Ben Smith was rewarded with an All Blacks call up on the 2009 Northern Tour. He made his debut on the right wing against Italy in Milan along with two other debutants – Mike Delany and Tamati Ellison. After dropping his first touch, the then 23-year-old went onto have a flawless debut and came close to scoring his first Test try only to see the ball take an unfortunate bounce into touch. 


2012: Ireland demolition
Starting in his first Test match since 2009, Ben Smith was impressive on the right wing in the All Blacks 60-0 dismantling of Ireland at Waikato Stadium. After two tight Test matches against Ireland, the All Blacks were unstoppable in the third Test with Smith one of the best performers on the park. The man known as ‘Bender’ capped off a fine performance with his first Test try. It was a well taken try from 35 metres out which showcased his sharp pace and match awareness.

2013: Brilliant Bledisloe
After a number of seasons on the cusp of a starting spot in the All Blacks, Smith had a breakout season in 2013 as the All Blacks became the first team in the professional era to go the entire season unbeaten. His hat-trick performance in the All Blacks 47-29 win over Australia in Sydney was perhaps his best performance of the year and underlined his growing stature in the All Blacks squad. Smith laid on a mistake-free performance and showed his class with the first hat-trick of his Test career as the Bledisloe Cup was regained for another year. 

2015: On top of the world
Ben Smith was an automatic selection for the All Blacks in 2015 and a key part of the team’s Rugby World Cup success. As one of a small number of All Blacks who played all seven matches during the tournament, Smith was a steady last line of defence at fullback, outstanding under the high ball and electric with ball in hand. A Rugby World Cup winner’s medal was just reward for Smith’s world class play over a number of seasons.

2016: Puma double

Whether in his usual position of fullback or switching to the wing to accommodate Israel Dagg at the back, Ben Smith was back at his best in 2016. One of his finest performances of the year came against Argentina in a pulsating clash in Hamilton. The Pumas stunned the All Blacks with an early try before Nicolas Sanchez landed a number of penalty goals to grab an early lead. With incisive running, strong defence and two tries, Smith spearheaded the All Blacks 57-22 comeback victory. One of his tries was an all-time classic as he pierced the line before turning the defence inside out in a spectacular 50 metre effort.

Ben Smith fact file:
Age: 30
Debut: v Italy, 14 November 2009
Tests: 60
Points: 135 (27 tries)