Fletcher Smith enjoying Hurricanes pivot battle with Jackson Garden-Bachop

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The 25 year-old, out of Nelson College, hadn’t played a Super Rugby game since the Hurricanes narrow win over the Chiefs just before lockdown.

 

He was reasonably happy with his performance on Sunday afternoon.

 

“The senior guys and coaches made it pretty easy during the week just to fall back into place. I had to just do my role and get the boys around the park, especially with the tricky conditions, my role became a bit more important, but I was pretty happy with how I went.”

 

Smith and Jackson Garden-Bachop have been battling it out for the Hurricanes number 10 jersey, with the latter having played their three opening games of the competition. Smith said no one has the upper hand and it’s a good internal contest.

 

“We are both battling each other every week which is good to have competition and we like to help each other out in our games, but there hasn’t been anyone that’s number one. We’re playing it by ear each week and hopefully whoever gets the opportunity does the job in the weekend.”

 

Smith admits while it was good to get the win over the Highlanders, there is still plenty of room for improvement ahead of this Saturday’s clash with the Blues at Sky Stadium in Wellington.

 

“The best thing about when you can get a win is you look back and see the opportunities that you missed to potentially get more points on the board. Obviously at times we missed opportunities to put them away but those are things we can look at and improve.

 

 

“With the Blues this week that’s exactly what the team is going to need, to play for 80 minutes and make the most of those opportunities because against the Blues you don’t get many of those.”

 

The dual pivot role has become a popular formula for the All Blacks and other Super Rugby Aotearoa sides recently and it’s a set-up Smith enjoys alongside Jordie Barrett.

 

“It just creates both sides of attack for you either side of the ruck. That’s something that I try to work really hard on with Jordie. He’s got brilliant skills so he can easily slot into 10 or first receiver, so we’ve got to make the most of having his skill set there.”

 

Speaking of Barrett’s, it will be Beauden’s homecoming to the capital this weekend. Smith and the Hurricanes can’t wait for the occasion.

 

“We’re sure he’s just as excited to get to Wellington to play, as the Hurricanes are to play against him. It should be a good battle.”

 

The Hurricanes host the Blues this Saturday at 7:05pm at Sky Stadium, Wellington. Get your tickets HERE.

 

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