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Smith admits New Zealand are yet to hit top gear

Smith admits New Zealand are yet to hit top gear

New Zealand are the first team through to the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals but have not yet clicked into gear – and centre Conrad Smith admits they’ve been shooting themselves in the foot.

New Zealand are the first team through to the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals but have not yet clicked into gear – and centre Conrad Smith admits they’ve been shooting themselves in the foot.

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The All Blacks, hosts of the British & Irish Lions in 2017, beat a gritty Georgia 43-10 at the Millennium Stadium on Friday and in truth, the scoreline doesn’t reflect the Europeans’ performance.

Julian Savea grabbed a hattrick while Waisake Naholo crossed over in the second minute following his miraculous return from a leg break he sustained two months ago.

But the Georgians, led by talismanic No.8 Mamuka Gorgodze, forced the Kiwis to cough up the ball numerous times – but Smith says there were enough glimpses of quality to take forward.

"We obviously want to play with a lot of tempo, play at speed, but we sort of made things harder for ourselves and then we just made errors," Smith said.

"The boys are trying hard and it's difficult in these games when you are expected to win and win easily and you have opposition that are doing their best to stop you.

"They (Georgia) did a really good job and the frustration built in our team and unfortunately we didn't quite click.

"There were some moments where there was some good stuff in the game. We were almost going to crack things open but it wasn't to be so we have to move on."

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