Brumbies coach Jake White describes George Smith’s return to the Brumbies as fate playing itself out.
Captain Ben Mowen goes one better and describes it as a “dream result”.
Call it what you will, there’s no denying the 110-Test veteran’s return to the nation’s capital couldn’t have been timed any better.
The season-ending knee injury suffered by star Wallabies flanker David Pocock in Saturday night’s 35-6 win over the Waratahs could have been a devastating blow to the unbeaten Brumbies’ Super Rugby title ambitions.
But fortunately for White and the Brumbies they had arguably Australia’s greatest No.7 waiting on the bench for the first time since leaving Australian rugby in 2010.
The 32-year-old Smith may have played the last of his 110 Tests back in 2009, but he was impressive on his return to Canberra Stadium, making 18 tackles and forcing turnovers on at least three occasions.
He also surprised the Waratahs by feigning a reverse in attack from the ruck base to set up Henry Speight’s 72nd-minute try.
Smith is on a short-term loan from Japanese club Suntory during their off-season break.
Whether the Brumbies can now extend their loan of Smith to see out the whole season would be entirely up to the Japanese club.
However with a long way to go in his stay, White was patently thrilled to have his experience to call on to share the workload and also mentor young openside flanker Colby Faingaa.
“It shows you how fate plays out … it’s just fantastic how things have worked out now that George has arrived,” White said.
“It’s not nice on Poey, but at the same time it just shows how important depth is in this competition and when you have depth like George it’s even better.”
An ARU spokesman told AAP on Sunday that the situation regarding Smith returning to the Test arena for the British and Irish Lions tour in June had not changed as he remained ineligible to play for the Wallabies.
However Smith has previously admitted that playing in the three-Test Lions series had, at the very least, piqued his interest.
“Look I’m not going to lie to you it is enticing, but I think it’s premature to be thinking about that,” Smith told reporters two weeks ago.