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Halfback Aaron Smith has revealed the full extent of the ‘ruthless’ review that the All Blacks underwent following their Rugby World Cup semifinal defeat to England.
Speaking on the Rugby Bricks podcast, Smith revealed that head coach Steve Hansen got 51 people into the room to review the defeat, including everyone from management to the physios, with everyone having their say about what went wrong.
“The review process was ruthless. It was tough,” Smith said in a wide-ranging interview.
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“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 review followed a meeting that the leadership team had the day before, which featured elements that Smith said he ‘hated hearing’.
“We had our leadership meeting with the coaches and it was tough – Steve Hansen asked right away ‘how do you feel right now?’ We all told each other how we felt – and as you
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