Ben Smith has backed his ability to perform at the Rugby World Cup, saying he is not lacking confidence despite being dropped for the Bledisloe Cup decider at Eden Park last month.
Smith admitted he could have done things better before being axed but he said he was excited to take on whatever role he was given by coach Steve Hansen.
“I just love playing footy, so it was great to get out there against Tonga,” he said.
“I’ve always believed in my ability and what I can do. I always back myself to get out there and do a good job. There’s never any doubt here.
“I could have been doing things a bit better, definitely.”
After starting at fullback during the last World Cup, Smith was not fussed whether he played there or on the wing.
“I just want to do a good job, whatever that role is,” Smith said.
The outside back’s long-time teammate for club and country, Aaron Smith, revealed that a review of the draw against the Springboks in Wellington that became “ugly”.
Asked if he requested the tape be stopped before it showed him failing to jump to catch a kick before Herschel Jantjies scored in the last minute, Smith said there were a few moments that made him cringe.
"As All Blacks you have got to be able to take the good with the bad - they [the coaches] are not trying to just pin you out,” Smith said.
“It got to a point just where it was ugly.”
Smith said if he was in that situation again, he would jump and allow himself to be hit.
“For sure, I’ll give them my ribs too,” he said.
“I had the similar look with Genia’s chip against us in Auckland. It was the same thing - a bit too far so I couldn’t catch it, so just take the hit, make sure I got the ball.
"Any chip chases I’ll put my body on the line if I’m available to do that this time. I won’t be scared to put my body on the line.
“A lesson well learned.”