ARU must move mountains for Smith

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    Last Saturday night at Canberra Stadium saw the Brumbies visit another heavy defeat on big brother, the return of the great George Smith and David Pocock suffer a season-ending injury.

    When I heard Pocock was injured I feared the worst, he has suffered his share over the years, however this was the most devastating.

    Pocock was going to be selected as Wallabies captain and have a huge influence on the Lions series. He is one of the few Wallabies revered and feared in the northern hemisphere.

    His biggest attribute is his strength, he is a beast at the breakdown and you can count on two or three pilfers and the same number of penalties for his team each game. He is now an experienced campaigner too, he will be sorely missed.

    Which brings us to his replacements – Michael Hooper, Liam Gill and possibly George Smith.

    The young guns are great prospects but are they ready to take on the mighty and punishing Lions pack? In my opinion they aren’t there yet, I would have one of them in the 22 but not both.

    The man we must have in the back-row is George Smith – be it at number 6,7 or 8.

    The back-row is looking vulnerable without Pocock, Wycliff Palu currently injured and the inability to find an adequate 6.

    Smith provides much needed experience, toughness and leadership that will be required to beat the Lions – not to mention a sound game!

    I realise there is the small issue of Smith being on loan from Suntory and currently, as an overseas player, is not eligible for Wallaby selection.

    But as Nick Farr-Jones often says, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

    Translation: the ARU must move mountains to secure Smith for the Lions series.

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    The Crowd Says (78)

    • March 19th 2013 @ 6:28am
      mania said | March 19th 2013 @ 6:28am | ! Report

      i hope smith isnt eligible. too much disrespect from roarers for smiths skills. the guys a legend and imo has surpassed eales as the epitome of greatest aussie rugby player.

      • March 19th 2013 @ 7:17am
        Red Kev said | March 19th 2013 @ 7:17am | ! Report

        Smith is the only guy who can realistically challenge McCaw as a complete rugby player in my humble opinion. That said I don’t expect the ARU to changr its stance, they might if Deans asks, but he won’t not after dropping all those years ago and not when he has a chance to claim “discovery” of Hooper and Gill.

        • March 19th 2013 @ 7:20am
          mania said | March 19th 2013 @ 7:20am | ! Report

          agree RK – smith is the greatest aus has ever produced. i cant see deans wanting smith which is a real shame to world rugby.

        • Roar Guru

          March 19th 2013 @ 11:28am
          Rob na Champassak said | March 19th 2013 @ 11:28am | ! Report

          I always felt that McCaw was the only rugby player who could realistically challenge Smith 😉

          Might be a bit of Brumbies bias there, but there is no doubt that they are both great rugby players. Both would be among the top five players their country has ever fielded.

          • March 19th 2013 @ 11:30am
            mania said | March 19th 2013 @ 11:30am | ! Report

            nah not bias rob. but i would say the best their country has ever fielded.

        • March 19th 2013 @ 1:50pm
          Hightackle said | March 19th 2013 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

          Geez you guys talk some BS.
          Big ol nasty Deans doesnt want Smith becuz he is not a fav and Deans wants to claim discovering Hooper and Gill????
          I know who wants to claim things without any basis and thats you guys, not Deans.
          Would be nice if instead of making up reasons to hate Deans you stayed here in the real world.

          • March 19th 2013 @ 5:13pm
            Red Kev said | March 19th 2013 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

            “The Real World” now an internet comment thread!

      • March 19th 2013 @ 7:29am
        Simon_Sez said | March 19th 2013 @ 7:29am | ! Report

        Mania, maybe its time to take the blinkers of mate! George Smith, as a 110 test veteran has earned the right to play his rugby anywhere in the world and still be eligible for the Wallabies. The current rules are silly excluding veteran Wallabies from being eligible to play for the Wallabies because they wish to play overseas. George Smith is one of those players who has earned that right and it is fair and reasonable for him to expect he can play. The challengers for the No.7 should have to beat George Smith for the position, if they are good enough. This will have the effect of keeping a high standard of value of the Wallabies jerseys by keeping veterans in the selection mix. The current rule, in my opinion, is also an illegal restraint of trade and would not withstand a concerted legal challenge, if the players decided to mount a challenge against the ARU.

        • March 19th 2013 @ 7:51am
          mania said | March 19th 2013 @ 7:51am | ! Report

          hey i agree simon – part of me doesnt want smith back, a small part. i’d be creating the yoke for my own back if i managed to influence someone who has a say in whether smith makes it in or not. he’s a great player and def deserves to retain his jersey.
          however i’m all for the eligibility rule that players must be domestic to get selected. the long term ramifications of relaxing this rule is having a setup like manuSamoa who never consistently have the same team at differing tournaments.

    • Roar Guru

      March 19th 2013 @ 6:50am
      Who Needs Melon said | March 19th 2013 @ 6:50am | ! Report

      I don’t remember him playing 8 much but jeez he looked comfortable at the back of the scrum. Not sure about the Wallabies starting side but he’d make a super sub. I assume the definition of an ‘overseas player’ is one with an active overseas contract. Simple solution would seem to be for someone (ARU/Brumbies) to pay out his Japanese contract and extend his Australian one. Is that not possible?

      • March 19th 2013 @ 6:54am
        mania said | March 19th 2013 @ 6:54am | ! Report

        melon – need to ask deans 1st whether he’d have smith in his squad. somehow i doubt as smith isnt part of deans favourites.
        or maybe thats wishful thinking on my part.
        now if he were a kiwi i’d be advocating getting him straight into the AB’s. but with aus i’m hoping lack of foresight and plain ol stupidity will see smith miss wearing green n gold this season.

        • March 19th 2013 @ 1:41pm
          Hightackle said | March 19th 2013 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

          We really need to stop making things up.
          This “favs” thing is made up by fans and I would love to know whos in it. I would guess Robinson but its just not true.

    • March 19th 2013 @ 7:23am
      nickoldschool said | March 19th 2013 @ 7:23am | ! Report

      Considering the Lions will have backrowers like Warburton, Robshaw, Tipuric, O’brien, Morgan, Faletau, Wood etc to choose from, I think the wallabies need an experienced guy like Smith. As good as they are, Gill or Hooper, and even Dennis and Mowen, need some guidance, on and off the field, for tests and mid-week games. Palu and Higginbotham do bring something but GS would add some extra confidence to the group.

      I think that if the ARU and Deans really want him for the series, there will be no issue with Suntory. definitely worth buying the couple of months he would miss.

      • March 19th 2013 @ 1:43pm
        Hightackle said | March 19th 2013 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

        Australia would have to change policy or Suntory release him.
        No real issues?

        • March 19th 2013 @ 2:27pm
          nickoldschool said | March 19th 2013 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

          No. ARU have to change or amend their OWN policies, how’s that difficult!? They don’t need a IRB referendum or to consult others, it’s their own matter.

          Suntory aren’t stupid: if they get a financial compensation they won’t oppose to Smith leaving. They wouldn’t keep one of their highest paid players if he doesn’t want to stay.

    • March 19th 2013 @ 7:41am
      richard said | March 19th 2013 @ 7:41am | ! Report

      Interesting that G.Smith is being looked at for the Lions series.Frankly,it’s an excellent idea,as the WB’s are going to need some wise old heads v the BIL.

      With Red Kev and Mania here- he is the closest Australia have had to the complete player.I would put Smith in the same bracket as McCaw and Michael Jones,and I can’t give higher praise than that.One of the true greats of the game.

    • Roar Guru

      March 19th 2013 @ 7:53am
      Mark Richmond said | March 19th 2013 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      After the injury to Pocock, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Brumbies management are working behind the scenes to hang on to George until the end of the season. This would involve altering both his Brums and Suntory contracts in terms of when they come into effect…..that could make him eligible. Don’t forget his coach at Suntory is Eddie Jones, ex-brumbies man. What would be better for Suntory, Smith having pre season training with the squad, or good hard match time in Super Rugby and the Lions series? Risk of injury aside, the latter option looks best on paper.

      • March 19th 2013 @ 1:32pm
        Crockycrocky said | March 19th 2013 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

        Eddie will still have influence at Suntory but is no longer their coach. At any stage George has the option of accepting a contract here and turning down his Suntory one. He only has a couple of years left playing rugby though so am sure whatever pays the most will be his choice!

    • March 19th 2013 @ 7:57am
      Pollock said | March 19th 2013 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      It makes sense he covers 6,7 & 8 and is far and away one of the best back rows around. For the ARU and Deans not to do all they can to make him available for selection shows they couldn’t care if Aust win against Lions. Time for them to stand up and do their job of getting the best possible wallaby team on the park.

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