Smith close to hanging up his boots

Former All Black Conrad Smith has hinted retirement might be just around the corner.

In Brisbane with French club Pau ahead of the Brisbane Tens, Smith questioned how many more games he had left in him before moving on from the sport.

“I think it’s more when other opportunities come along and it might be time to call it quits,” Smith, a qualified lawyer, said. “I think I’m getting near that stage, I’ve still got to work a few things out.

“I don’t know if there’s many games left in me, but I’m still enjoying it, so while it lasts it’s good to go.”

Smith played 94 tests for the All Blacks between 2004-2015, winning World Cups in 2011 and 2015, before leaving New Zealand and cashing in at Pau.

The classy midfielder is one of seven former All Blacks in Pau’s squad for the Brisbane Tens, which kicks off on Friday and wraps up on Saturday.

In addition to Smith, prop Carl Hayman, pivots Colin Slade and Tom Taylor, midfielder Benson Stanley, outside back Frank Halai and prop Jamie Mackintosh will also front for Pau in the second installment of the tens tournament.

Smith, whose last game for the All Blacks was the 2015 Rugby World Cup final against Australia, said Kiwi fans should see the same old attributes from himself come the weekend.

“I’d like to think I’m doing the same things I always did,” Smith said.

“I’m playing the same game I always have, so I’m still enjoying it. Hopefully it will just be more of the same from me.”

Pau are grouped with the Highlanders, Chiefs and Waratahs for the pool stage of the tournament, and start by tackling the Waratahs on Friday.

For Smith, he’s just relieved he doesn’t have to play — at least not in the group stage — against the franchise he represented 126 times.

“I’m glad I’m not playing my old Hurricanes side, that would have been a bit strange,” he said.

“I won’t know a lot of the players, two years and it seems like there’s a whole new bunch of guys playing in the (New Zealand) teams. But I’ll know a few of them, I enjoy that part of the game.”

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