Baby Bender: Highlanders showcase the new Ben Smith

All Blacks great Ben Smith may be in the final weeks of his 11-year stint with the Highlanders but it looks like the South Island franchise already have a Smith clone in line to replace him.

The downside - the new Bender may be a few years away from the professional level.

A Highlanders fan page posted a video on their Facebook page of a split screen comparing six-year-old Jesse Pellowe and the All Blacks fullback.

Both have worn the green and gold jersey for Green Island.

In the video, Jesse completes a runaway try with the very same celebration as Smith - by punching the ball out of his hands.

Jesse, who is in Green Island's Year 2 Gold team, thinks Smith's an "awesome player".

"Playing for Green Island is great coz I sometimes get to see Ben at the club."

Smith (32) who has played more than 150 games for the Highlanders, is in his final season with them before heading to France after the World Cup to play for Pau.

However, there's a chance may have played his last game for the franchise after being ruled out for six to eight weeks with a high hamstring injury.

- NZME and ODT Online 

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