The Brumbies must keep George Smith fresh. Photo: Jay Cronan
The ACT Brumbies are confident they will keep openside flanker George Smith provided they show Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath they can keep their star player fresh throughout the Super Rugby season.
Brumbies coach Jake White met with Suntory's coaching staff in Dunedin, who were there to see them beat the Otago Highlanders 30-19 on Friday night.
White re-iterated they would only seek to keep Smith if they were in finals contention.
Smith's short-term contract runs out at the end of the May with just two games remaining before finals - against the Melbourne Rebels (June 7) and Western Force (July 13). White felt there would be no hassles keeping him for the Rebels match.
''The only concern [Suntory] have is that they want him to be fresh by the time they start their season, that's all,'' he said.
''I'm sure if we find a way in which we can keep him fresh and give him enough time to play and make sure he's 100 per cent ready for their season, I'm sure they would look at accommodating us.''
Smith's battle with Queensland Reds No. 7 Liam Gill will be an important factor when the two teams meet at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.
Gill was selected in Robbie Deans' preliminary Wallabies squad last week, while speculation has surrounded a possible recall for 110-Test veteran Smith.
Smith's contract with Suntory makes him ineligible for national selection.
And while Gill is in the Wallabies squad and Smith isn't, the encounter still has Gill nervous about playing one of the true greats.
''I'm excited about the opportunity, he's arguably one of the best flankers the world has seen,'' Gill said.
''I'm nervous about coming up against him, but in the same sense very excited.
''As I grew up, the fight between [New Zealand's] Richard McCaw and George Smith was massive.
''I think looking at that, that was probably the biggest impact on my flanking career.'' with AAP
Super Rugby Round 10: Queensland Reds v ACT Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium, 7.40pm. TV Time: Live on Fox Sports 2.