Ben Smith Rugby World Cup: Aaron Smith speaks out on ‘ruthless’ All Blacks review after loss to England

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New Zealand Rugby chairman Brent Impey discusses the panel selected to choose the next All Blacks coach.

All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith has opened on the “ruthless” review that followed New Zealand’s semifinal loss to England at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

The All Blacks were chasing an unprecedented third successive world title after World Cup wins in 2011 and 2015 but England demolished them 19-7 in Yokohama on October 27. 

It was the end of Steve Hansen’s hugely successful time with the All Blacks and the bronze final a week later against Wales was the final farewell for the departing coach and veterans like Kieran Read, Ben Smith, Sonny Bill Williams and Ryan Crotty. 

Ben Smith Codie Taylor (left) and Aaron Smith featured as the All Blacks went down 19-7 to England in the semifinals of the Rugby World Cup.

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Codie Taylor (left) and Aaron Smith featured as the All Blacks went down 19-7 to England in the semifinals of the Rugby World Cup.

Smith, a World Cup winner in 2015, revealed how Hansen summoned all the players and staff to a meeting after the semifinal defeat. The All Blacks went on to beat Wales 40-17 to finish the tournament third. 

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“The review process was ruthless. It was tough,” the Highlanders halfback told theRugby Brickspodcast.

“We were watching one of the worst games we’ve ever played, and you’re part of some ugly stuff. Was the effort there? It was big-picture, there was no actual name-calling, just things like ‘We needed to be better there, here’s a big moment that we mucked up, here’s a chance that we could have made.

“Steve did it with the whole room – everyone got their one minute or two minutes to say how they felt. There was a range of emotions – there were 51 of us there to start the review.”

The 31-year-old Smith is a senior figure in the All Blacks and is the country’s most capped halfback (92) after his test debut in 2012. 

Ben Smith Aaron Smith on the bench watching the defeat to England unfold in Yokohama.

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Aaron Smith on the bench watching the defeat to England unfold in Yokohama.

Smith said the mood was “pretty sombre” as the All Blacks assessed their fir

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