George Smith a must for the Lions

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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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 didnโ€™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 worldโ€™s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (188)

    • March 27th 2013 @ 2:26am
      Hightackle said | March 27th 2013 @ 2:26am | ! Report

      I dont think so.
      Liam Gill, Hooper, Palu, Higgs, Mowen, MMM, Quirk, Shatz, McCalman, Kimlin can cover the backrow.
      Hes not a must and neither was Pocock.
      Imo Genia is Australias MVP.
      After 3 games (recent games) it looks like Smith has a lot to offer but to change the eligibility rules to get him is opening a can of worms.
      There is a reason why Australia has those rules.

      • March 27th 2013 @ 3:09am
        Pick & go..!! said | March 27th 2013 @ 3:09am | ! Report

        HT. I think Genia is Australia’s best player, but I don’t think his MVP. IMO Palu is MVP. Because if Palu gets injured, it is Palu then day light till the next best 8 in Australia.

        • March 27th 2013 @ 4:01am
          Hightackle said | March 27th 2013 @ 4:01am | ! Report

          Mowen, McCalman, Higgs?

          • March 27th 2013 @ 4:36am
            Pick & go..!! said | March 27th 2013 @ 4:36am | ! Report

            McCalman & Higgs have been tried & failed at 8. Mowen has yet to be tested at international level. Which hopefully will change come the Lions.

            • March 27th 2013 @ 4:40am
              Hightackle said | March 27th 2013 @ 4:40am | ! Report

              And Australia has heaps of tried and tested, outstanding 9s behind Genia?

              • March 27th 2013 @ 5:25am
                Pick & go..!! said | March 27th 2013 @ 5:25am | ! Report

                HT Rugby is won in the forwards. NZ can win the World Cup with out Dan Carter, then I’m sure the Wallabies can beat the Lions with out Genia. Which is why I don’t think he is the MVP. IMO

              • March 27th 2013 @ 2:06pm
                Hightackle said | March 27th 2013 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

                No its not won in the forwards. It just isnt.
                Thats why there are backs. If you think about it, that makes sense right? The ABs won without Carter but its naive to think they couldnt have done it without a first choice forward. In fact thats a bizzare comment.
                Its not won in the forwards and thats why teams with the superior forwards dont always win. Its a cliche based on nothing. Its won in the 23.

              • March 27th 2013 @ 5:31pm
                Sprigs said | March 27th 2013 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

                They won because of a back called Beaver.

          • March 27th 2013 @ 6:35am
            Kane said | March 27th 2013 @ 6:35am | ! Report

            Just add Daylight in front of them please HT

            • March 27th 2013 @ 8:45pm
              Pick & go..!! said | March 27th 2013 @ 8:45pm | ! Report

              HT. I will have to agree to disagree, in that 2011 campaign, the wallabies lost to Ireland because Pocock was injured & WB were getting murdered at the break down. they won against SA because of One forward in Pocock had a massive influence on the game. the truth is Genia can only weave his magic behind a dominating pack, that gives him quick clean service. If the opposition nulify the forward pack then they also nulify Genia as well.

              • March 28th 2013 @ 1:22am
                Hightackle said | March 28th 2013 @ 1:22am | ! Report

                Well we will have to disagree.
                In 2011 Australia must have beaten NZ becuz they had a superior forward pack.
                Or maybe it doesnt work that way. I wonder if a back has ever won a game?
                Do you really think that every time a team wins its becuz the forwards were better and every forward is more important than every back?
                But your right, Genia is known as the best half in the world becuz of the powerful packs he is behind. The Wallabies and Reds dominate everyone dont they?
                The Wallabies are 3rd in the world, is their pack

              • March 28th 2013 @ 1:28am
                Hightackle said | March 28th 2013 @ 1:28am | ! Report

                … 3rd best?
                Palu imo is not even that important and is not a great 8. To suggest that he is more important than the worlds best 9 when last year Australia struggled without him is just wrong.
                To say that a half needs a forward pack to operate is naive in that a team needs a half too. A forward pack wins the ball for the most part and the backline uses or scores for the most part. You need both.
                As Ive said before, you put a team of 15 forwards up against my team of 8 forwarfs and 7 backs, then we will see if backs are less important.

      • Roar Guru

        March 27th 2013 @ 7:55am
        Myles Stedman said | March 27th 2013 @ 7:55am | ! Report

        • March 28th 2013 @ 2:44am
          Pick & go..!! said | March 28th 2013 @ 2:44am | ! Report

          HT in what way is Palu not a great 8? & to be fair if you played 15 forwards against 15 backs in rugby, forwards win hands down every day..!! Scrums,rucks & mauls, lineouts.etc

          On the spring tour Australia lost one game against France you think if genia played you think the WB would of won??

          • March 28th 2013 @ 4:07am
            Hightackle said | March 28th 2013 @ 4:07am | ! Report

            Who knows but Palu played and no Palu isnt a great 8 and is one of the worst in the top 10 sides. I would rank Lobbe, Picamoles, Read, Vito, Heaslip, Morgan, Felatau, Harinordguoy, Beattie, Brown, Spies and Parrisse higher but thats my opinion. I would guess that by the end of the year he will be 2nd choice.

            Forwards win the ball, backs use the ball. Dont underestimate kicking from hand, kicking for goal, scoring tries, defending kicks, pace and being elusive.
            Every member is valuable but imo the most important position is a goal kicking 10. The forwards win the ball and pretty much give it to him and he dictates soooo much of the play, the linebreaks, the points scored, the territory etc.
            Too much revolves around that 1 player imo to consider any player more important. Tightheads are important….for scrums and….well mainly scrums and all the forwards play their role as do all the backs but for me the 10 is the pivot on which a team revolves.
            Dont be confused between necessity and importance. You need forwards to win the ball but that does not mean that they are more important becuz you need both to make a good team.
            Who was more important for the great English side of 2001-2003, Wilkinson or any 1 particular forward?

            • March 28th 2013 @ 9:56am
              Pick & go..!! said | March 28th 2013 @ 9:56am | ! Report

              HT, you keep saying Palu is not a great 8, & is the worst 8 in the top 10 nations? But you haven’t answered my question as to why?

              Could I assume that you don’t know why? Or is it that stereotypical view that he is a Pacific Islander & he doesn’t have the engine to go 80 mins? Palu IMHO is the most underrated player in Australia because of armchair critics like yourself who don’t rate him for whatever reason.

              Australia’s most capped Lock, a legend in Nathan Sharpe Said this about Palu “He reminds me of Toutai Kefu … they’re the two best number eights I’ve played with,”.

              Retired Waratahs lock Dan Vickerman. Who believed that “Palu was the heart & soul of the Tahs” & rated Palu as “one of the best team players his ever played with”.

              There just some opinions of some PLAYERS who have played with Palu at super & test level. But What do they know right HT.!?

    • March 27th 2013 @ 2:29am
      Hightackle said | March 27th 2013 @ 2:29am | ! Report

      “Three weeks ago Wallaby coach Robbie Deans said there was no room for crack open-side flanker in the Wallaby line-up to meet the Lions.”

      No he didnt. He didnt say that at all. He said lets stick to realities or words to that effect and later stated that he couldnt select him and gave the reasons why.

    • March 27th 2013 @ 2:38am
      Hightackle said | March 27th 2013 @ 2:38am | ! Report

      Also you are jumping to conclusions about Suntory.
      “There is no doubt Suntory would agree to the extension”
      Really, no doubt?
      Also the ARU may not clear Smith unless he gets released becuz it is a policy not to select players signed to overseas clubs.

      You also imply that its all up to Deans? Last I checked it wasnt up to him at all. In fact he has said that. He isnt allowed to select him. He said the ARU or Suntory need to do things first.

      • March 27th 2013 @ 7:45am
        Two Bob's Worth said | March 27th 2013 @ 7:45am | ! Report

        The situation is a bit more complicated than simply ARU policy. The real restraint is an IRB Rule that players can’t have multiple concurrent playing contracts.

        • Roar Guru

          March 27th 2013 @ 1:09pm
          AdamS said | March 27th 2013 @ 1:09pm | ! Report

          So it’s not about brumbies getting an extension of the loan.
          Suntory have to release him from their contract in full.
          Just a paper chase in reality, but it would probably cost someone a big chunk of change.

      • March 27th 2013 @ 1:42pm
        Elisha Pearce said | March 27th 2013 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

        Basically, as long as George Smith is signed to a Japanese club he might as well have been born there. His 110 caps only mean something when he’s not signed to an overseas club. He’s just Gareth Delve at this point.
        Unless he tears up his Suntory contract, or they agree to rearrange it (which would probably amount to putting together a new agreement) then Smith might as well have played 110 time for Georgia.

    • March 27th 2013 @ 2:59am
      Willie said | March 27th 2013 @ 2:59am | ! Report

      Is gill and hooper that bad no they not so smith is not a must

      • Columnist

        March 27th 2013 @ 6:26am
        David Lord said | March 27th 2013 @ 6:26am | ! Report

        No, George Smith is that good.

        • March 27th 2013 @ 9:19am
          Bondi said | March 27th 2013 @ 9:19am | ! Report

          I agree. George Smith is an awesome player, the hungriest on the field. It’s a pity we lost his talent overseas. While Gill and Hooper are good players, they are not in George Smith’s league at the moment.

        • March 27th 2013 @ 8:02pm
          Crash Ball2 said | March 27th 2013 @ 8:02pm | ! Report

          Agreed. It’s true that this season Smith has only played “3 good games”. Intriguingly, this figure coincides precisely with the number of games Smith has actually played. Now I’ve recently been accused of having less logic than Chivas’ girlfriend, but that seems like a fairly good conversion rate to me.

          Quite aside from some fairly impressive metrics across all the typical “openside KPI’s”, what Smith has done so well this season is all the intangible stuff (the 1%ers as someone rightly put it): relentlessly hounded clearance kickers; put several bone-crunching hard shoulders on ever pocket-retreating first receivers; been the Brumbies most consistent and effective clean out exponent, taken pressure off his halfback from a retreating Brumbies scrum; identified the defensive weak links whilst spearheading the rolling maul from lineouts; been abrasive when required (and in doing so, shown the young Brumbies that they defer to no-one: bigger, taller, stronger – doesn’t matter). This mentions nothing of the fact that Jake White has asked GS to cover myriad responsibilities from positions: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12. Anyone questioning Smith’s motor needs to purchase an HD TV and get surround sound. Because George Smith is Captain Everywhere.

          If the argument is one of giving the young bucks valuable experience on their journey to Wallaby greatness. OK. But turn down the volume on the “George is past it” lunacy. And cast aside 100-odd games of international brilliance in a different life, if we were to pick a Wallaby 7 based solely on current form: George Smith is wearing Gold every day of the week.

          • March 27th 2013 @ 9:15pm
            Chivas said | March 27th 2013 @ 9:15pm | ! Report

            Too funny :-), a good post. I wouldn’t say he’s past it in terms of what he can contribute. I think the volume on him being past it is not really too high.

            I think the point is the other implications and is it a knee jerk reaction or in the best interests of Australian rugby both now and in the longer term. There are always compromises and would you make them for someone else’s girlfriend (GS at Suntory) for a couple if extra weeks while abandoning your own. I had to use that analogy to remain in keeping ๐Ÿ™‚

            Seriously though I think Australia has some awesome players who I would like to see playing together…. when in form Palu, JOC, Genia, Ioane, Horwill, Tapuai, Gill, Pocock are for me pretty exciting and are likely the future. I just don’t want to see the future overshadowed.

            Maybe that’s a reason to also turn down the volume on the GS hysteria too :-).

          • March 28th 2013 @ 1:41am
            Hightackle said | March 28th 2013 @ 1:41am | ! Report

            Did someone say G.Smith was past it?

            Also on form you would pick him…if he was eligible, which he isnt & if the series was tomorrow, which it isnt.

            Yes hes played well for 3 games this year, to pretend he is a must after that is extreme dont you think? Or is 3 games enough? Should Deans have picked his team for the Lions 2 weeks ago?

            Yes Smith has played 100 games but what exactly does that mean? Wasnt Pocock starting to be preferred 4 years ago? Did they not know about the 100 games then?

            Everybody needs to calm down and think, Smith is not eligible, 7 is where Australia has the most depth, are the rules better broken or intact? & is the Lions series tomorrow or in 3 months?

            • March 28th 2013 @ 9:32am
              Crash Ball2 said | March 28th 2013 @ 9:32am | ! Report

              HT, pre-season Roar critics pointed to old legs and the pace of the game being too fast for a mercenary / semi-retired GS. Then with 65 odd minutes of first game brilliance it was “only one good game”. Then it was “only two good games”. Then “only three good games”. If any other Australian forward played with the consistency, involvement and impact of GS, they would be lauded – yet ever decreasing rumblings of form are now being overtaken by mind-numbing arguements of rugby bureaucracy. In the rarified air of a 110 test career – a sensible rule can be made that won’t spark the mass exodus of all our elite players and cripple Australian rugby.

              I think Pocock (now unavailable), Gill and Hooper are all outstanding and we are blessed to have this talent at our disposal. I can accept an arguement based upon their need for this rugby rite of passage. They are our future. For my part, I believe in the present, “what’s best for Australian Rugby”, would be a Lions series win. If that was my key criteria, much as David said, get George Smith.

              • March 28th 2013 @ 9:45am
                TembaVJ said | March 28th 2013 @ 9:45am | ! Report

                Well said CB2, if you had a hypothetical crystal ball that said “Poe injured, Gill and hoops not experienced enough/or got injured, you will lose the lions series without GS” I would wonder how many people would say “no let the new guys have a go, they have waited their turn”

                I just don’t get it, its a Lions series, once in 12 years, that’s 3 RWC’s… I don’t care about the feelings and futures of some players based on 3 games that come around every 12 years.

                Recruit the best, cover all possibilities and embrace the blokes that have the experience. Do what ever it takes to win!!!

                Too many people here deny what value experience is equal to. How many games between the two of them have Hooper and Gill played against Wales and England?

                If Poe wasn’t injured, sure he has experience and the backup of Hooper and Gill but he is injured!!!

                No one is saying Hoops and Gill arnt good enough, the difference in the end is experience. For as much depth there is in Aussie 7’s there is a void in experience.

                Let not forget that people are selecting Gill on this seasons form only so applying the same logic GS should qualify.

      • March 27th 2013 @ 6:36am
        Kane said | March 27th 2013 @ 6:36am | ! Report

        They’re not that bad just not great at international level

        • March 27th 2013 @ 7:49am
          DMac said | March 27th 2013 @ 7:49am | ! Report

          Yet. Cometh the moment, cometh the man.

          • Roar Guru

            March 27th 2013 @ 9:44am
            Rob na Champassak said | March 27th 2013 @ 9:44am | ! Report

            Well, the hour has cometh, and it appears to have broughteth Georgeth Smith.

            • March 27th 2013 @ 10:22am
              Rebel said | March 27th 2013 @ 10:22am | ! Report

              Hahahaeth

    • March 27th 2013 @ 4:10am
      Johnno said | March 27th 2013 @ 4:10am | ! Report

      If the ARU and Bill Pulver, can’t be flexible on a bloke who has played 110 tests for this country and as good a player as George Smith has and still is then wow, I have motion of no confidence in the the ARU and Bill Pulver as cep.

      But mind you it wouldn’t surprise me if they say no. We are dealing with people in Australian rugby and various administrations in it, that are inflexible on foreign imports, unlike other major rugby nations in the world we are the most protectionist.

      Against pay tv deals for GPS school boy rugby, you can thank the old ties and boys network of GPS there, unlike NZ/South Africa who openly encourage commercial pay-tv deals of school boy rugby, as does rugby league in Australia with the GIO cup being televised this year.

      And neglect of west sydney, a 2 million nursery of potential rugby union talent, while all other footy codes have a pro team out there.

      Shame on that one Australian rugby.

      So if the ARU don’t allow George Smith a man who helped over 110 tests, and a 2001 Lions match winner, has helped but coffers of money into there coffers over the years, then it will be another dagger in the elitist, inflexible attitude that the ARU has displayed well for a long time it seems.

      They are now Australian rugby 6 times behind the AFL in revenue, and Bill Pulver spins about so much the importance of revenue raising and growing, and appealing to a broader audience and wider audience, and and entertaining product , and wallabies winning matches, well here is a cash cow in George Smith who could be the difference between winning and losing as he was in the 2001 series. Pick him ARU , you need to win the series and revenue, to raise the profile of rugby in Australia.

      http://www.smh.com.au/business/afl-leaves-other-codes-in-the-dust-20130326-2grkp.html

      • March 27th 2013 @ 4:26am
        Hightackle said | March 27th 2013 @ 4:26am | ! Report

        Why do you think they have that rule Johnno?
        What do you think they have to lose by letting it erode?

        Is it in Australias interest to keep the eligibility laws intact or is it in Australias interest to break them to allow Smith play when Gill, Hooper and Pocock are the future?

        I think there is waaaaaay too much focus on Smith. Imo its actually debatable if he is a better player today than Gill. Gill has been outstanding. Australia doesnt need Smith when they have Gill and Hooper.

        Do I think Smith should be a Wallaby? I dont know becuz its only been 3 games. Is he the best 7 in Australia? On form yes…just. Is their a great need for Smith? I think its debatable if there is any need.

        • March 27th 2013 @ 6:57am
          Kane said | March 27th 2013 @ 6:57am | ! Report

          Not a lot actually, I think they have a lot to gain by allowing 100 test veterans to play overseas.

          First off you have to be deemed good enough to play and ironicly George only showed that by coming back to play.

          Now that he is playing rugby in Australia it seems weird to call him and overseas player.

          Second it may even encourage people to stick around a little bit longer, Matt Giteau case in point, stranded on 92 caps, may have stuck around for a wee bit longer to bring up 100 caps so he could be picked if needed when playing overseas.

          Judging by the way he is playing and the way Australia played last year it’s not a stretch to think he would’ve picked up those 8 caps.

          Only Gregan, Sharpe, Smith, Larkham, and Campese would be eligible under a 100 cap rule.

          Do you still think that Australia have a lot to lose?

          Please tell me again why Gill who hasn’t done anything at international level is better than Smith based on a few Super games where Smith is actually proven at test and is showing a more all round game at the moment?

        • Roar Guru

          March 27th 2013 @ 4:18pm
          B-Rock said | March 27th 2013 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

          Agree HT – 7 is our most talented position, with Pocock the present, Gill and Hooper the future and Smith the past. Playing in a tough lions series will build Hoops and Gills experience like nothing else.

          Roarers complain continually about talented young players to be given a shot at the highest level only for the old bloke to be hanging on and limiting their playing time.

          While Smith is much better than some of those old blokes alluded to above, he hasn’t even commited to Aust rugby, he hasn’t tried to exit his Japanese contract and is not that superior to Gill and Hooper anyway.

          Get over Smith – as great as he was/is, he is yesterdays hero, we need to look to the future with players committed to SR and the WBs

      • March 27th 2013 @ 4:33am
        Hightackle said | March 27th 2013 @ 4:33am | ! Report

        So the ARU should promote Smith and have him leave directly afterwards?
        Maybe they should promote Gill and Hooper and have them as cash cows for years to come like G.Smith was Johnno. Or does the AFL bring in retired players who have eligibility probs to get their money?

        There is far more to consider than if G.Smith is the best option as a player. That in itself is debatable just like it was in 2010.

        • March 27th 2013 @ 4:56am
          Johnno said | March 27th 2013 @ 4:56am | ! Report

          Australian rules football, Australia is only place where a major pro league is played in the sport, so eligibility isn’t an issue. And the AFL is very flexible, they allow salary cap concessions i think in Sydney, as sydney is very expensive city,. Also maybe Gold Coast got a few concessions too.

          Flexiblity hightackle and bigger picture, if you have done 110 test for crying out loud, you deserve some flexibility. Wow South Africa saw the bigger picture and picked Frans Steyn, he was there best player at the world cup with Dannie Rossuw to they got injured,. You wouldn’t of oicked him either in the same circumstances. Case by case basis, and if you have played 80 test matches you deserve some flexibility and should be cut some slack. And George Smith has played 110 tests, and it’s the short term cash cow now. Lions series is 3 weeks, Gill and Hooper have the next 8 years to be cash cows, but if 110 test George smith is your man, then pick him.

          Under your logic Hightackle , you would prefer we lose , rather than be flexible, if George Smith is gonna give us that 1% extra than what Gill and Hooper can offer. And miles more experience. Wow head in the sand attitude Hightackle and many others have.

          No surprise why Australian rugby is in the doldrums, many fans reflect the view of so much conservatism across the board in there thinking.

          No surprise aussy rugby is dead last in the revenue out of the 4 footy codes in OZ. And AFL, and now NRL with $1 billion dollars, and A-league with wanderers and big growth plus the NPL coming in and a FFA cup too in the pipeline, all the other 3 keep surging ahead, but aussy rugby is held back by elitism, and inflexibility.

          Hightackle you probably think 5 foreign imports per club in the A-league is harming australian soccer , the A-league and the socceroos. No they bring in revenue and maintain high standards.

          And George Smith offers that bigger picture stuff, high standards, and difference between winning and losing, a big cash cow, which you’d rather neglect. Losing culture also comes from large percentage of Australian rugby fans it seems as well.

          • March 27th 2013 @ 5:08am
            Hightackle said | March 27th 2013 @ 5:08am | ! Report

            Johnno WTF are you talking about.
            You link G.Smith to ARU revenue, the A League and a whole bunch of stuff but ignore the reality of it. Nothing new there.

            The rules are there for a reason, a reason you are ignoring. Smith has played 3 good games and after that you are claiming the diff between him and Gill is winning and losing. You mention how G.Smith has made his name and is popular but want to deny Gill or Hooper that chance all for some fantastical stance on how G.Smith is at the centre of the ARU vs the AFL. Johnno how about starting with what the problem is with selecting overseas players first and then build up to the A league and all the other things you seem to bring up, no matter what the argument or article is about.
            I know right, its the big picture Im missing. I think youre missing the entire issue. Talk about head in the sand, yours is in the clouds Johnno and always is. You cant see the forest for the trees.
            Oh and “under your logic” no thats not my logic. Mu logic wasnt even mentioned. Im telling you that they have policies for reasons. According to your logic the reasons are to destroy rugbys chances of succeeding but they are for exactly the oposite reason.

            • March 27th 2013 @ 5:15am
              Johnno said | March 27th 2013 @ 5:15am | ! Report

              Hightackle live the banter with you i thrive on some conflict and disagreement, but my head might be in the clouds but I dream at least, and am flexible, .
              And i recognise the other 2 are good as well, but if Smith is better come Lion’s series, 110 tests, gets some flexibility. And statistics wise since he came back, he has beaten both Gill and Hooper.
              I might be in the clouds, but at least I can see, you can’t see nothing, head buried in the sand, and that seems to be flexibility and big picture talk. And the 1 percenters if George Smith is better than Gill and Hooper come Lion’s series those 1perecenters extra bit of class do make a difference. And we win it will hep rugby grow and get more revenue and interest in sport to match or catch up to the market share in the other footy codes.

              • March 27th 2013 @ 8:07am
                BBA said | March 27th 2013 @ 8:07am | ! Report

                For what it is worth, and this is why it is worth debating, both of you have good points.

                First of all George Smith adds more than the other two by being able to cover all three loose forward positions, so he is someone ideal to have in the mix/squad. However at No.7 it is not a position which the Wallabies are weak in. Although this is the Lions, it is not a development tour the result of this series matters, and will be in Australia’s face for the next 12 years before they can right it, if they should lose. Therefore logic dictates that you should play the best team you have right now.

                Given his service to Australian rugby he is someone who should have been entitled to a sabbatical, however Aussie has never formally had such an arrangement.

                On the other hand Aus, with its lesser talent pool than SA and NZ is more vulnerable to losing its top players to Japan/France so they have to manage this well.

                If your viewpoint is that the Lions series must be won at all costs than he plays, if your view point is to protect Australia’s rugby player base, then you might be more ambivalent.

                I do think that there is a solution that can meet both objectives and agree with the writer that something should be being done now. Hopefully it is (wouldnt expect it to being done publicly, so we wont know until something (if anything) is announced).

        • March 27th 2013 @ 12:21pm
          Simon Levingston said | March 27th 2013 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

          Hightackle, why all the objections about the veteran George Smith? If he or a player like him is the best option then select him. So what if he travels overseas after helping Australia to achieve higher standards. If another player is good enough then they will be selected ahead of Smith. The selection policy needs to be pragmatic and without emotion. Being selected for the Wallabies is all about the highest standard possible; the current rules are stunting this standard and devaluing the jersey.

          • March 27th 2013 @ 12:35pm
            Chivas said | March 27th 2013 @ 12:35pm | ! Report

            Funny.. But emotion is what is running this call for GS. You can say no we just want the best player in the field…. Why do they have this rule Simon? Why was this rule put in place? Everyone has conveniently forgotten the development and medium / long term in this hysteria to have GS take the field.

            But I agree let them play where they like and roll back for the Wallabies.you think your super teams are crap now…. Baby u ain’t seem nothin yet.

            • Roar Guru

              March 27th 2013 @ 4:51pm
              Rob na Champassak said | March 27th 2013 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

              Why do you assume that we have to change the rules to allow everyone to play overseas and still be eligible? I don’t think it would be unreasonable to make an exception for players who have played more than a hundred Tests.

              For goodness’ sake, how many of them could there be?

              • March 27th 2013 @ 7:35pm
                Chivas said | March 27th 2013 @ 7:35pm | ! Report

                Rob that is a valid point and probably the angle Deans will be pushing to effectively change the rule without having a real impact on the point of the rule. It’s the same reason they gave for allowing McCaw and Carter to get away with it. Players like Gitau and co. may want to see the number brought down a few though and you still need to be considerate and empathetic to those working hard to get in who get bumped off by this short-term approach.

                But if it can be managed it’s a reasonable position. A bit of planning and foresight would be a good thing, but hindsight is always 20:20

              • March 28th 2013 @ 2:01am
                Hightackle said | March 28th 2013 @ 2:01am | ! Report

                Why do I assume they would have to change the rules? Becuz under the rules he isnt allowed to play for Australia.
                So they either need to make an exception (set a precedent) or change the laws. Either way they are breaking and eroding the laws.
                Does Australia value keeping their veterans in Australia or should they encourage them to leave?
                Will it be 100 games, then 90, then 30, then none?

                To be honest Im a bit in 2 minds, do I want G.Smith to play or do I want Gill or Hooper to play?
                I dont care and its too early to tell which is the better option.

          • March 27th 2013 @ 1:58pm
            Hightackle said | March 27th 2013 @ 1:58pm | ! Report

            “Why all the objections about G.Smith”

            From who?

            I get extremely frustrated when I explain why it may not be the best option for Australia and people act its as if I dont like G.Smith. I am explaining why Australia may be better off keeping rules intact.
            I agree that the selection policy needs to be without emotion.
            Its not just about G.Smiths selection. Its about CHANGING RULES TO ALLOW HIM TO PLAY when there is no major requirement for it and most of the push for his selection is based on emotion.
            Australia has Pocock, Gill and Hooper. Do they need Smith? No, not much if at all.
            However many of you are keen to change the rules based on 3 games.
            Calm down, realise that Australia has a huge depth at 7, think about why the rules are there and take a few deep breaths everybody.

            • Roar Guru

              March 27th 2013 @ 5:05pm
              Rob na Champassak said | March 27th 2013 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

              Dude, the rules are there to serve us, not the other way around. We do not have huge depth at openside. We have three players, one of whom is already injured.

              What good would a fussy and dogmatic commitment to minutiae do us if either one of Hooper or Gill got injured before the series? What if they BOTH got injured before the series?

              There is absolutely no harm in crossing that bridge right now and granting George Smith an exemption, or even, you know, completely legally seeking his release from his Suntory commitments. He might indeed prove to be surplus to requirements, but if he is in the squad we can make that decision on match-day.

              All we need to do right now is secure his eligibility, not lock him in or worry that the entire rugby establishment will come crashing down in Australia if we select a ‘foreign’ player.

              • March 28th 2013 @ 2:13am
                Hightackle said | March 28th 2013 @ 2:13am | ! Report

                Yes the rules are there to serve Australian rugby and yes you have again failed to acknowledge why but instead say they should be broken.
                The rules are for a reason, thats how they serve Australian rugby, by staying intact and meaning that you must play in Australia to be a Wallaby.
                Australia DOES have great depth at 7 and no other country in the world has the personel that Australia does at 7 imo.
                Australia has 3, yes they do, 3 outstanding 7s.
                Now the issue is, do they need to bring Smith out of retirement to make it 4? No.
                Does it serve Australian rugby more to break the rules to bring in a player they dont need or does it serve Australian rugby more to keep the laws intact?

            • Roar Guru

              March 27th 2013 @ 5:22pm
              jeznez said | March 27th 2013 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

              HT – Australia don’t have Pocock – if we did then I doubt this discussion would be taking place.

    • March 27th 2013 @ 4:41am
      Chivas said | March 27th 2013 @ 4:41am | ! Report

      Firstly cut and paste can be your best friend snd your worst enemy :-)… you’ve managed yo repeat 90% of the rant…

      David, in short your self righteous borderline fanatical rant is absolute rubbish. Anyone with the smallest bit of knowledge about coaching would tell you all coaches have been fighting to get players back from overseas, off-hire since well since I can remember.

      The problem as HT alluded to is the laws, why they are there and the impact of making exceptions. The floodgates open. If you don’t think Robbie wouldn’t have been knocking in there door already and hasn’t tried in the past… you really are living in a bubble.

      Ask any international coach. The reason they say there is no hurry is because they don’t want to speak out of turn, because the noise it creates fed by fanatical rants like this would be the outcome. And that creates a more fractured environment than what already exists.

      Fair go. I know the point of writing these articles is to get some discussion going, but the premise of this article is way left field.

      • Columnist

        March 27th 2013 @ 7:02am
        David Lord said | March 27th 2013 @ 7:02am | ! Report

        No Chivas, straight from centre field, where I always come from. This whole discussion can be answered with one phone call to Suntory – 0011 81 3 3770 0130 – the big question is who is going to make that call?

        • March 27th 2013 @ 7:07am
          Justin2 said | March 27th 2013 @ 7:07am | ! Report

          You’re an experienced wannabe player manager, go for it…

        • March 27th 2013 @ 7:07am
          Kane said | March 27th 2013 @ 7:07am | ! Report

          I’ll do my duty to save Australian rugby, I’ll make it

          • March 27th 2013 @ 9:17am
            TembaVJ said | March 27th 2013 @ 9:17am | ! Report

            I called, its option 3 for the release of GS… its engaged.

            • March 27th 2013 @ 10:43am
              ohtani's jacket said | March 27th 2013 @ 10:43am | ! Report

              I just looked the number up and it’s for the official Suntory supporters fan club. Quick somebody make the call! One call is all it takes! Maybe Jake White can talk to the team mascot.

            • March 27th 2013 @ 11:22am
              Sage said | March 27th 2013 @ 11:22am | ! Report

              ๐Ÿ™‚

        • March 27th 2013 @ 9:37am
          ohtani's jacket said | March 27th 2013 @ 9:37am | ! Report

          What number do we call to get you released from the Roar?

        • March 27th 2013 @ 11:21am
          Sage said | March 27th 2013 @ 11:21am | ! Report

          Boom ! I hope you feel suitably chastised now David you self righteous borderline fanatical absolute rubbish ranter you.
          Breathe in deeply Chivas, slowly now, that’s it, now out and relaxxxxx. Ahhhhhhhh, that’s better
          Can’t see any harm in removing the IF question from this. IF he was deemed suitable to be selected based on form, knowing IF it was possible would be a bonus. I don’t think he’s a must until form dictates so but I don’t think what you’ve said is a self righteous borderline fanatical absolute rubbish rant either. Who’d have thought curious George’s return would have caused so much breathless angst.

          • March 27th 2013 @ 12:06pm
            Chivas said | March 27th 2013 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

            Boom. A bit of substance or reason would be interesting. Maybe a response to points raised. I explained mine, perhaps you may do the courtesy of the same or not.

            • March 28th 2013 @ 4:18pm
              Sage said | March 28th 2013 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

              Believe I already have on a previous article and above particularly regarding form vs selection. You obviously disagree but that’s OK. In regard to explanations, the need for “David, in short your self righteous borderline fanatical rant is absolute rubbish” ? Really? And then you accuse him of “an ego driven rant”. Them’s very strong words, ignoring any irony. I respect you have a different opinion and the GS talk is apparently infuriating you but maybe put down the sledge and pick up the claw hammer.

              • March 28th 2013 @ 9:51pm
                Chivas said | March 28th 2013 @ 9:51pm | ! Report

                Firstly thanks for your time to reply. You are no doubt correct could and should tone it down a little :-).

                My frustration isn’t really at the hype around GS, but a comment on David implying people are twiddling their thumbs on this. It is in my opinion a rant, because it does not consider this. Consequently it comes across to me as unbalanced.

                Further, it is a personal opinion and demanding, without having to account for the decisions which need to be considered before any such steps can be taken. So it seems like preaching which I where my comment regarding ego comes from.

                Personally I think GS is a champion as does everyone else and he has possibly been the best number 7 Australia has produced. He is without doubt the best I have seen. But I saying that, I really do want to see Australian rugby set up to begin a real legacy and I think they do look like they are building to this.

                Nor do I necessarily see it as being an issue having GS play. I personally would just like to have seen a more balanced and insightful approach with regards to the article David submitted.

                I am also frustrated that we hype up some things which will be sorted by the wise men of our beloved sport and yet sports writers appear to do nothing to create a groundswell of support to ensure we have better coverage and development of the sport in places like WA and Melbourne. I just think sometimes passion could be better directed than at coaches and the ARU for perceived inefficiencies.

                For real ones no problem. It’s a great sport which when people are switched on to it and players are performing is an absolute joy. Go the Tahs :)… not really a Tahs supporter, but as the perennial underdogs I am giving them my support at the minute ๐Ÿ™‚

                Hope that was a bit more chilled.

              • March 29th 2013 @ 7:28am
                Sage said | March 29th 2013 @ 7:28am | ! Report

                Very nice, part from the Tahs bit.
                ๐Ÿ™‚

        • March 27th 2013 @ 11:35am
          Chivas said | March 27th 2013 @ 11:35am | ! Report

          A blinkered, misleading, short-sighted centre view. The article is an ego driven rant. All written to feed into the GS hysteria.

          What I don’t understand is how a sports writer writing about a sport they supposedly feel so passionate about isn’t writing to whip up a frenzy about things which do genuinely need to be recognised, but rather writes this as if wheels aren’t already in motion.

          What’s of more interest is the retention of Gill, the fact that you can’t get radio or free to air tv coverage of rugby in WA… and a number of other things which would contribute to the growth of the game here.

          Where are those stories. Where is the real investigation behind any article that separates it from just being a self styled unsubstantiated rant versus something interesting. Maybe I am holding too high an expectation of people like yourself, Brett, Spiro Melanie and co.

          Opinions of opinions of opinions…. So far I’m reduced to only paying real attention to Brett’s articles as he writes about the actual game.

        • March 27th 2013 @ 11:48am
          Darwin Stubbie said | March 27th 2013 @ 11:48am | ! Report

          Surely someone with the spirit of brother Henry could make the call

        • March 27th 2013 @ 11:54am
          Johnno said | March 27th 2013 @ 11:54am | ! Report

          David your the man of the roar house, you faced Thommo and Wes Hall you make it ha ha.

        • Roar Guru

          March 27th 2013 @ 7:22pm
          Mark Richmond said | March 27th 2013 @ 7:22pm | ! Report

          DL…if you honestly think that Andrew Fagan wasn’t on the phone as soon as DP was ruled out for the season, then you are not the reporter we think you are. This hoo ha is a smoke screen, they have almost certainly been onto this since the Waratahs game.

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