Smith closer to Wallabies recall

By David Barbeler, David Barbeler is a Roar Guru

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    Champion flanker George Smith is a big step closer to a recall for the Wallabies against the British and Irish Lions after his Japanese club cleared him to remain with the Brumbies for the rest of their Super Rugby season.

    Originally contracted on a short-term deal until the end of May, Smith has now been cleared to play with the competition-leading Brumbies until their last game in 2013, including a possible finals campaign.

    That means he’ll still be in Australia when the three-Test series against the Lions is played in June and July.

    Smith, a veteran of 110 Tests for Australia, has shown in recent weeks he remains one of the premier openside flankers in world rugby.

    But the Australian Rugby Union would still need to set a precedent by allowing an overseas-contracted player to appear for the Wallabies if coach Robbie Deans is to call him up.

    Deans would certainly value his experience, especially with first-choice openside flanker David Pocock out for the season with a knee injury.

    There are also other strong young contenders for that position in the Waratahs’ Michael Hooper and Reds’ Liam Gill.

    Smith welcomed the chance to see out the season with the Brumbies, giving him a crack at third Super Rugby title, having lifted the trophy with the Brumbies previously in 2001 and 2004.

    “This has been a special opportunity for me and my family, to return to the Brumbies for what will probably be the last time,” Smith said.

    “I’ve already been lucky enough to build a legacy I am proud of with the club, so to be given another chance to add to that is exciting.

    “When I arrived I was impressed with the quality of the group in terms of rugby and also personalities.

    “There is enough potential and drive there to achieve something with this team and I’m excited by the chance of being a part of it.”

    Smith has featured in 134 games for the Brumbies after making his debut in 2000 against the Sharks.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (24)

    • April 19th 2013 @ 6:26am
      mania said | April 19th 2013 @ 6:26am | ! Report

      so not going to happen. i dont even think stGeorge wants to play for robbie. when asked by justin marshall last week stGeorge said he wasnt available and was committed to his suntory contract.
      ARU rules also dont allow him to because he’s contracted to an overseas club.

      • April 19th 2013 @ 8:17am
        Crash Ball2 said | April 19th 2013 @ 8:17am | ! Report

        Too much has been made of Marshall’s comment. Any sensible player would tread the diplomatic path when chatting with a rugby commentator on the day of a game / broadcast. Simply illustrates that GS’s IQ off the field matches his RQ on it (RQ: I may patent this).

        • April 19th 2013 @ 8:20am
          mania said | April 19th 2013 @ 8:20am | ! Report

          yeah crash, cos aus is known for its sensible players.
          whilst stGeorge may not have a high IQ (which i totally disagree with) he’s been smart enough to keep his off field antics out of the papers and does all his talking on the field. to me that proves he’s a frickn einstein

          • April 19th 2013 @ 8:36am
            Crash Ball2 said | April 19th 2013 @ 8:36am | ! Report

            Mania, I’m saying that Smith is being very smart in answering Marshall as he did. How did you come to the opposite meaning from what I wrote?

            • April 19th 2013 @ 8:40am
              mania said | April 19th 2013 @ 8:40am | ! Report

              sorry crash not enough coffee. if your gonna be on this site you’ll need to get used to my errors. u mustve typed it too fast for my speed @ reading

              • April 19th 2013 @ 8:49am
                Crash Ball2 said | April 19th 2013 @ 8:49am | ! Report

                No problem M.

              • April 19th 2013 @ 8:51am
                mania said | April 19th 2013 @ 8:51am | ! Report

                and i just figured out what RQ means, rugby quotient?. i get there eventually

    • April 19th 2013 @ 7:56am
      Simon Levingston said | April 19th 2013 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      The ARU rules are out of step with the IRB Regulation 9 rules, preventing Australia from fielding its best talent. The ARU is providing Robbie Deans an argument that he should not be replaced until the ARU provides him access to the best available players Australia has to offer.

      • April 19th 2013 @ 8:05am
        Red Kev said | April 19th 2013 @ 8:05am | ! Report

        Do you ever get tired of missing the point and posting the same whinge every single post?

      • April 19th 2013 @ 9:13am
        Crash Ball2 said | April 19th 2013 @ 9:13am | ! Report

        In fairness SL, I think Robbie Deans is historically the one that prevents Australia from fielding its best talent.

      • Columnist

        April 19th 2013 @ 11:23am
        Brett McKay said | April 19th 2013 @ 11:23am | ! Report

        Come on Simon, please…

      • April 19th 2013 @ 1:21pm
        soapit said | April 19th 2013 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

        if thats what he’s relying on he’s really clutching at straws.

    • April 19th 2013 @ 8:56am
      Amateur Hour said | April 19th 2013 @ 8:56am | ! Report

      I heard Marshall’s comments about his chat with George and what he said was that George indicated that he would be returning to Japan at the end of May to honour his contract. End of story.

      Now that’s not the case. He’s not returning until early August.

      George has also said that he hasn’t spoken to Robbie yet. That’s smart play from both of them. Soon that won’t be the case either and it will come out that Robbie’s sounded him out about playing.

      Everything about this seems like it’s being very carefully managed by someone behind the scenes who, dare I say it, seems quite astute.

      There’s a fair bit of Rugby to play between now and the Lions and the unfortunate reality is tha George might get injured between now and then. I don’t think we’re going see any arrangements start to firm up until much closer to the series. To do otherwise would be to ruffle feathers unnecessarily if, for example, he got injured.

      George, please don’t get injured.

      • April 19th 2013 @ 10:09am
        The Battered Slav said | April 19th 2013 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        George never gets injured Allanthus.

        Any stats nerds out there might be able to rattle of how many games in total he missed for the Brums between ’01 and 2009?

        I’m pretty sure it was bugger all, which for somebody who takes a battering ever weekend playing openside, it quite an achievement.

        • April 19th 2013 @ 1:48pm
          Amateur Hour said | April 19th 2013 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

          It speaks further of his genius.

        • April 19th 2013 @ 3:55pm
          Markus said | April 19th 2013 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

          I can seriously only think of one match, back in 2005, and only remember it because it was what gave Julian Salvi his debut.
          Have had a look around online, I can’t vouch for 2009 or 10, but can confirm that was his only game missed between 01 and 08.

          Owen Finegan provides by far the greatest insight I have heard into St George’s durability:
          “He’s got chunky tree-stump legs and a big bum, short legs and a long body. You wouldn’t call him fit, he’s a solid fat kid”.

          • April 19th 2013 @ 7:26pm
            Parisien said | April 19th 2013 @ 7:26pm | ! Report

            ha, I remember that comment too. Its still funny. Having seen George up close and met him once, I can affirm he’s built like a fridge. Not tall, but very solid.

        • April 20th 2013 @ 9:20am
          Bakkies said | April 20th 2013 @ 9:20am | ! Report

          He missed a couple due to a neck complaint in his ”farewell” Brumbies season. That lead to Hooper and Faingaa getting capped.

    • April 19th 2013 @ 10:25am
      Adsa said | April 19th 2013 @ 10:25am | ! Report

      Suntory are being very nice with GS, I wonder if they get compo?

      • April 19th 2013 @ 11:16am
        Red Kev said | April 19th 2013 @ 11:16am | ! Report

        Normally with a loan you pay the club $X and they pay the player his normal wage of $Z which is less than $X.

      • April 19th 2013 @ 1:59pm
        nickoldschool said | April 19th 2013 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

        I love the statement they made saying (sort of) that it was an honor for them to have a successful SR player like GS among them.

        So Japanese. +++

      • April 20th 2013 @ 9:21am
        Bakkies said | April 20th 2013 @ 9:21am | ! Report

        It’s their off season. He is going back match fit. Compo might come in question if he goes over there injured.

    • April 19th 2013 @ 3:30pm
      Gary Russell-Sharam said | April 19th 2013 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

      I doubt the the ARU will change its view on allowing a non contracted player to play for Australia. I actually think they are right in this decision.

      OK it might be nice to have Smith’s experience in the squad but we already have two world class 7s in Hooper and Gill, with a couple more nearly as good (Allcock to name one). So why do we acutely need G Smith to play and make the ARU set a dangerous precedent that may in future come back to bite them. I mean where does it end if this is allowed?

      The up-coming game Brumbies V Reds will give an indication on how G Smith is going, and even if he does shade Gill (which I actually doubt) will this really prove that we desperately need him.

      I might buy into this is we had Hooper and Gill out injured and we were looking at some of the others to stand up to be counted, then I might say that we could need G Smith. But this is not the case and doesn’t appear likely, so what is this beat up that says that we desperately need G Smith to play for the Wallabies again.

      Just because one of our best players comes back and plays great rugby after being away for a time doesn’t mean that he automatically is better than the guys that have taken his place while he was away.

      If he came back un contracted and was entering into a contract like MMM I would look at him purely even for his experience in a squad. Even then I doubt that I would play him, a bench warming spot would be all that I would think he is worth at this stage in his career as opposed to the pair that are playing (Hooper and Gill).

      Smith’s value would be in training with the squad to mentor these two for the games IMO.

      But as the rules stand at the moment (I see no reason for these rules to be changed) Smith is ineligible to play for the Wallabies end of story.

    • April 19th 2013 @ 7:37pm
      Parisien said | April 19th 2013 @ 7:37pm | ! Report

      Its interesting to note that GS is contracted both overseas and in Australia at the moment.

      It seems to me there is a potential legal grey area here depending on the ARU’s legal wording: “overseas contracted”, “overseas based”, “non- Australian contracted” etc.

      Just out of curiosity, does anyone actually have the exact rule in its proper wording?

      Personally, I think if he’s eventually eligible, and there seems to be some confusion over this, he’d be great in the squad with his talent and experience.

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