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Genia praises All Blacks counterpart

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James Mortimer     26 Jul 2012     Getty Images

Smith made an impact in 2012 early, when his form led to Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph opting to leave All Blacks veteran Jimmy Cowan on the bench for the majority of the franchise's matches during Investec Super Rugby.

His dynamic passing game and speed in clearing the ball led to an All Blacks call up, and despite being in the squad with World Cup winning incumbent Piri Weepu, became the team's senior halfback in the Steinlager Series against Ireland.

Smith is a new halfback that brings a new aspect of backline play to the All Blacks game, but he will be tested when he comes up against Genia, rated in many quarters to be the best nine in world rugby.

Speaking after he had claimed the award as Australia's best Super Rugby player, Genia said that the Wallabies were aware of the challenge awaiting them ahead of back-to-back tests against the All Blacks.

"They (New Zealand) have been the best in the world for so long for a number of reasons," said Genia.
 
"They will pick up where they have left off, as they always do.  They will be very tough and it will be a big ask to get on top of them but you wouldn't have it any other way."

He had nothing but compliments for Smith, who he said added a dimension to the All Blacks play they didn't really need in the first place.

"Having watched their series against Ireland, I really like the way Aaron Smith plays," he said.

"I think he adds a new dimension to their play because he gets to the breakdowns quickly.

"He's got a great pass and gives then that extra speed in attack, which they probably don't need but they have the luxury of now.