Stuff had this backgrounder yesterday to the All Blacks test match against Ireland at the weekend:
Bridget Smith cried her eyes out when her son Aaron ran out on to Eden Park on Saturday.And she didn't stop sniffling until he had passed his first ball.She was at Auckland living the rugby fairytale of her 23-year-old son's elevation to the All Blacks in the first test against Ireland.Later, when she was invited to The Heritage Hotel in Auckland, she met the mother of lock Brodie Retallick, another of the players making their debuts."We both cried," Mrs Smith said, laughing."I was very nervous. When I got to the ground I was overwhelmed by the atmosphere and everything."It is pretty amazing he's there, on the best stage and he did what he was told to do."
We don't think a lot about the parents of our top sportspeople, but they are a significant part in their children's success. So it's great that these parents were able to spare a special moment with their All Black sons at the weekend.
And the Smiths got some very good post-match feedback on their son; read on:
Later at the Heritage, she met some of the senior players, including Sonny Bill Williams."He's lovely. He joked, 'tell that boy to pass that ball to me'."She said the senior players had looked after Aaron last week and some confided in her that he will be with them for a while.She spent time with him on Saturday before the test match, and again afterwards. "He was pretty chuffed. He did superbly."As for that first test jersey, the plan is that the family will frame it.His father, Wayne Smith, wasn't nervous about how his son would fare. He said Aaron had always been the sort of kid who could cope with any situation. "He would rip into it. Even as a young player he's always been confident.Mr Smith said Aaron went and played his game as he has always played. "With a forward pack like that in front of him, it was all go."
Aaron Smith had a cracker of a debut on Saturday night. We're sure that he won't rest on his laurels however, with the likes of Tawera Kerr-Barlow and TJ Perenara also having emerged as contenders for his position this season. It bodes well for the future.