Ben SmithBen Smith has the lot – speed, strength, skill, timing, versatility and a nose for the tryline – and could be one of the key figures of this Rugby World Cup.

The 29-year-old is cut from the same mould as Christian Cullen, another fantastically gifted full-back, although he is equally adept on the wing and at centre.

Smith’s performances for Otago in 2008-09 brought him to the attention of the New Zealand selectors and he won his first cap on their European tour against Italy in November 2009, which the All Blacks won 20-6.

Although, he was not picked by the All Blacks the following year, Smith did win Commonwealth Games gold with the sevens team in Delhi.

Recalled in 2012, Smith has now won 42 caps and 18 Test tries. The Highlanders star holds the record for having scored the most tries in a Rugby Championship campaign, touching down eight times in six matches in 2013. The same year, he was named the Super Rugby Player of the Year.

Smith missed out on selection for the 2011 RWC, which New Zealand won on home soil, so he will be eager to make his mark this time round.

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