Queensland Reds Coach Brad Thorn fought back tears on Triple M radio discussing Izack Rodda after his much publicised decision to reject Super Rugby pay cuts alongside Harry Hockings and Isaac Lucas.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young lamented George Smith’s inevitable departure from the English premiership side after watching Northampton unravel at the hands of the Australian legend.
Wallabies great Smith displayed his playmaking prowess by using footwork and guile to create two tries for Rob Miller in Sunday’s 28-6 victory over playoff rivals Northampton.
The 35-year-old openside flanker Smith, who gave England breakdown coaching during the Six Nations, is nearing the end of his one-year contract at Wasps and has resolved to complete the final instalment of his celebrated career in Japanese club rugby.
His stellar performances have marked him out as a leading contender for Premiership player of the season and Young views him as one of the league’s finest imports.
“There’s not really any way we could stop George leaving. We’d love to keep him,” Young said.
“When he came we knew it would only be for one year. He’s been excellent for us and for the Premiership as well.
“Everybody is enjoying watching a player of his quality. He’s got to be up there for Premiership player of the season.
“It’s the unseen stuff that he’s given us around the club, not just what you see on the pitch.
“He’s so professional in the way he prepares. He’s approachable and tries to help everybody. He’s a role model for any player.”
Smith and Miller combined to provide a low-quality showdown at the Ricoh Arena with two moments to savour as Wasps continued their pursuit of securing home advantage in the playoffs.
The Coventry-based club, who added a third try through Jamie Stevenson in the closing seconds, face Exeter in the Champions Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.