George Smith a must for the Lions

David Lord Columnist

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    Brumbies George Smith. AAP Images/NZPA, Ross Setford

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    Three weeks ago Wallaby coach Robbie Deans said there was no room for crack open-side flanker George Smith in the Wallaby line-up to meet the Lions. What? No room. He would be the first one picked.

    The 32-years-young Smith is going gangbusters with the Brumbies while on a three-month loan from Suntory, while the franchise is having an off-season break.

    Two weeks ago Deans softened a bit, saying protocol would stop Smith from being selected as he’s signed for an overseas club.

    Still what?

    Yesterday, Brumbies coach Jake White started making noises of approaching Suntory for an extension of the Smith loan, but quickly added there was no hurry.

    Have Deans and White snapped a twig?

    With David Pocock out of action for the season, the biggest priority in rugby today is George Smith being available for all three Tests against the Lions in June and July.

    There’s no doubt Suntory would agree to the extension, and there’s no doubt the ARU would clear Smith to play.

    But those moves must be made “yesterday”, not dithering around hoping it might happen.

    Make it happen.

    George Smith played the last of his 110 Tests in February 2010, and he’s lost nothing.

    He’s still the same great player who became the first to win the coveted John Eales Medal twice, he was Australian Super Player of the Year four times, the Brumbies Player’s Player of the year six times, and the Brumbles Player of the Year nine times.

    A priceless CV, matched by no-one.

    But Deans and White want to dither?

    Taking nothing away from the claims of Liam Gill and Michael Hooper to wear the No. 7 Wallaby jersey, but neither can hold a candle to Smith.

    Not now, or ever, while Smith is available.

    It’s a fact of life.

    So let’s have this vital question settled by tomorrow. Just one phone call today will do the trick.

    And when Smith can be counted in with Stephen Moore, James Horwill, Will Genia, the fast-improving Quade Cooper, Digby Ioane, and James O’Connor, there’s a nucleus of a side to beat the Lions.

    But the key man is George Smith.

    Get him.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles

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