Ben Smith Rugby World Cup: Ben Smith has lost his ‘inner self-belief and confidence’

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The All Blacks’ coach is hoping to see the best of Smith against Tonga on Saturday.

All Blacks veteran Ben Smith has lost his confidence, coach Steve Hansen says, but he is expecting the 33-year-old to quickly find it again.

Smith, who has played 79 tests, has been named at fullback for Saturday’s test against Tonga in Hamilton, after showing indifferent form in tests during the winter.

Smith, who has increasingly been selected on the right wing instead of fullback over the past couple of seasons, was dumped for the second Bledisloe Cup test but has a chance at redemption in his old spot just over two weeks out from the Rugby World Cup opener against the Springboks in Yokohama.

Ben Smith Steve Hansen wants Ben Smith to play with a smile back on his face.

JEREMY WARD/PHOTOSPORT

Steve Hansen wants Ben Smith to play with a smile back on his face.

Hansen believes self-doubt is the reason for Smith’s loss of form, possibly because of the hamstring injury he suffered late in the Super Rugby season.

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