LONDON, (Reuters) – - New Zealand’s policy of resting key players during this year’s Rugby Championship has ensured they are not jaded for their European tour, scrumhalf Aaron Smith said on Tuesday.
He was among several selected All Blacks who sat out games in the southern hemisphere championship, which the New Zealanders won with a 100 percent record.
“When you get rested it sucks, but you know the next week you’re going to be humming and feeling really good, and you can attack that game and attack that next block and with how the Rugby Championship is split up you can get two weeks off,” Smith told reporters on Tuesday as the world champions prepared for their first tour match against the Barbarians at Twickenham.
“Two weeks, as you get a bit older, is just like gold and you can go for another month or whatever is needed.”Smith, 28, has won 68 caps for the All Blacks since his debut five years ago.
“I feel in good shape physically, that’s the main thing. I don’t feel like I’m hanging in there, trying to hang on. I’m just looking to try and prepare and I feel good and I’m excited about the bunch of boys we’ve got over here and the games coming up,” he added.
The All Blacks take on the Barbarians on Saturday before tests against France, Scotland and Wales.
Reporting by Mark Gleeson, editing by Ed Osmond