Smith up for the huge challenge taking on the Brumbies in Canberra

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Smith said, "We've got a chance and I hope we can live up to the moment."


They will be looking at the game as a semifinal and Smith said it already had a big-game vibe to it.


"With all the unknowns, it is a little hard to predict or prepare for what-ifs, it is just about winning this game," he said.


And that has its challenges.


“We've got to be real. We're going to Canberra, it is a very tough place to play, and the Brumbies love playing at home.”

Aaron Smith


The Highlanders practised outside all week to prepare themselves for Canberra's colder weather.


"We are going to go out there and try to build on the momentum we've built in the last four weeks. We're in good spirits. We've got good energy," he said.



"We're happy with where we've progressed from at the start of the year. As a leader and a key player, I'm proud of our boys with how we've learnt to prepare and get consistency in our performances.


"All we can control is how we play. If we ruin a few people's perfect dream of a Blues-Crusaders final I'd love nothing more," he said.


Part of that will come down to an area where they have improved, their defensive play.


Smith said that in Super Rugby Aotearoa any game in which they tackled well they usually won.


Smith was also looking forward to another contest with Wallabies halfback Nic White because he was such an experienced player, competitive and feisty, something he enjoyed.


Watching the Hurricanes game last weekend, it was clear that the Brumbies' ability to compete through their pack would put the pressure on the Highlanders, and the forwards had a 'big day at the office' ahead of them, he said.


Coach Clarke Dermody knows from his playing experience that it will be a battle up front against the Brumbies.


"It has been a strength of the Brumbies. It is part of their DNA.


"It is an area that we have really grown in during the last eight weeks. I feel like everything is in place for that, and it's up to the mindset and accuracy of the players," he said.


"We're going over with confidence. We know that it's going to be really hard, but I feel that if we can execute our game, we won't be far away."



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