A really interesting conversation about backrowers on Saturday evening proved to be a completely unrelated, but entirely valid follow-up to a point I made last week about Wallabies coach Michael Cheika’s Rugby World Cup planning and legacy.
Wallabies great George Smith may have already played his final match in Australia as a knee injury threatens to rule him out of a planned Super Rugby farewell on Friday night.
Smith twisted his knee in an attempted pick-and-drive against the Blues in Auckland two weeks ago and was a late withdrawal from Queensland’s win over the Melbourne Rebels.
The 37-year-old said he wouldn’t know until later in the week if he would be right for the Reds’ clash against the Sunwolves at Suncorp Stadium.
Not that he’ll be bothered either way.
Smith has never been one for goodbyes and with a short-term stint at English Premiership Rugby outfit Bristol Bears just around the corner, he may have to do what’s best for his future.
“I’m not really that emotional when it comes to farewells or stuff like that,” Smith told reporters on Monday.
“It’s a game I want to be a part of but I’ve really got to listen to my body and see how it’s treating me, because it’s treated me well throughout these years.
“Will it be sad? No, it’s one game for me… I’ve got a lot of good memories anyway.”
Smith will leave Ballymore in a comfortably better state than when he found it after linking up with the Reds before the start of the 2017 season.
Wins have been hard to come by but there is genuine reason for hope with the emergence of a new generation under coach Brad Thorn.
A win over the Sunwolves to make it six victories in 2018 would make this the most successful season for the Reds since their last finals appearance in 2013.
Smith said he never thought about extending his initial two-year contract because of the plethora of talented back-rowers coming through under the watchful eye of Thorn.
Liam Wright, who will likely succeed Smith as Queensland’s first-choice openside flnaker, is the one who has impressed him the most.
“He just looks like a natural footballer,” Smith said.
“He reads situations well and moves around the park quite fluidly.
“Liam Wright’s a fantastic talent and Queensland rugby should do all to keep him here.”