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New challenges stimulate Conrad

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Sportal.co.nz     06 Sep 2013     Getty Images

"They're a different team," Smith said of the South Americans, "and that's the good thing about the competition.

"The three different teams [opposition] wear different jerseys but they also play pretty different styles. They're obviously a patient side, and they can spend a lot of time mauling and scrumming, but they are very good and wait for their opportunities," he said.

And when those chances came they were quick to appreciate them and make the most of them.

"It's difficult, especially for a centre. You can sit out there for 10-20 minutes sometimes without defending and suddenly you're scrambling so that's something we're aware of and we've worked at it all week so far," he said.

Smith has played the Argentinians three times and rates his opposite Marcelo Bosch highly.

"I really rate him, he offers the most in terms of their attack. He's their spark I think so there are good players and, like I say, when they sense an opportunity they are more than capable of making the most of it," he said.

Smith said whenever a new player joined the mix there was a sharing of excitement to see what he had to offer and he had been impressed with what he had seen of Blues mid-fielder Francis Saili in the build-up.

It wouldn't be an issue to play without long-time playing partner Ma'a Nonu alongside.

"There've been plenty of other second fives in the time I have had the jersey. That's just something you've got to deal with and, if anything, it has been good for me.

"It's a different challenge and you don't get to relax as much while making sure he's settling into the role and enjoying it and so far he's been great," he said.