Rookie All Black halfback Aaron Smith counts himself among those who consider Will Genia to be the premier No.9 in world rugby.

So he's licking his lips at the chance to go head to head with the Wallaby dynamo for the first time on Friday night, when the Highlanders face the Queensland Reds in Brisbane.

"I thought, after last year, it would be pretty hard to carry on the sort of form he showed, but from the World Cup to now, he's dominated again," Smith said.

"Some of the things he can do on the rugby field are amazing, so I'm very excited, because you always want to match yourself against the best."

The 23-year-old Smith, who is in his second season of Super rugby, got his Test call-up during the June series against Ireland, showing off his slick passing skills as he went on to play in all three matches.

He now turns his attention to being part of a Highlanders side who have to work out how to keep Genia quiet.

"I think it's stopping the kind of ball he's trying to get," he said.

"If he gets real fast ball, he's dangerous."

Both the Reds and the Highlanders sit outside the top six, with the Queenslanders separated by points difference only.

The Highlanders are four points further back, after having run competition leaders the Chiefs close last Friday before going down 27-21.

Even with a guaranteed four points from the final-round bye next week, the playoffs look beyond them.

Smith said the minimum goal against the Reds would be securing a bonus-point win.

"There's a mathematical chance that we can make it, so if we give it a good shot, maybe we can sneak in there," he said.

"It's unfortunate we've left it down to that, but it's rugby and anything can happen in 80 minutes. Hopefully it happens this weekend."

NZ Newswire

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