Unleashing the All Blacks’ Next Midfield Maestro: Conrad Smith’s Insight on Rising Talent

Rugby legend Conrad Smith has identified rising star Billy Proctor as a player to watch for the All Blacks’ midfield under new head coach Scott Robertson. With the All Blacks set to host England next month, Smith believes the uncapped Hurricanes center has the potential to make the national team and make an impact in the iconic black jersey.

Rugby Veteran Conrad Smith Backs Rising Talent for All Blacks Midfield

Two-time Rugby World Cup winner Conrad Smith has identified the emerging talent he believes incoming All Blacks head coach Scott Robertson should consider for the New Zealand midfield next month. The 42-year-old former center, who enjoyed a storied career with the All Blacks, has been closely following the Super Rugby Pacific season and believes the uncapped Billy Proctor should be given a chance to impress in his old Test position.

Proctor, who made his Super Rugby debut with the Hurricanes – Smith’s former franchise – in 2019, has steadily built a reputation as a promising prospect. With just over three weeks until the All Blacks host England in Robertson’s first match in charge on July 6, the young midfielder is poised to make his 12th appearance of the Hurricanes’ latest campaign when they face the Chiefs in the Super Rugby semi-finals this Saturday.

“Billy Proctor, the 13 for Hurricanes, has been amazing and he will make the team. Whether he starts… Rieko (Ioane) is there and it would be very hard to push him out but that is my team [the Hurricanes], so I am obviously going to pick someone there. But he will be someone to watch.”

Having played a key role in the All Blacks’ back-to-back Rugby World Cup triumphs in 2011 and 2015, Smith is excited to see what the new era under Robertson will bring after the disappointment of last year’s Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa in Paris.

“It’s exciting. He is different and he will bring something different to the team. Look, I’m excited by what he is going to do with the team. I have been excited by the rugby that is being played in New Zealand in Super Rugby. It has been outstanding this year so the players he needs to pick will all offer something. There will be a lot of changes and I am looking forward to that.”

Reflecting on the aftermath of the All Blacks’ World Cup final loss, Smith acknowledged the high expectations within New Zealand, but believes the new-look team under Robertson will provide a fresh start for the national side.

“It’s a good question. That is probably adding to the expectation around the new All Blacks team and how they want to bounce back from that disappointment.”

🔗 Source