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Brumbies keep eye on future of George Smith

George Smith is set to retire - but is always welcome back at the Brumbies.

George Smith is set to retire - but is always welcome back at the Brumbies. Photo: Melissa Adams

Australian rugby and ACT great George Smith is poised to call time on his career but the door is ajar for a Brumbies comeback, the club declaring it will ''always be open'' to recruiting the superstar flanker for a farewell tour.

There is speculation Smith will retire from rugby at the end of his Japanese season with the Suntory Sungoliath.

It comes less than a year after the Brumbies pulled off a masterful recruiting coup to lure Smith back to Super Rugby to boost their championship campaign.

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And Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham won't rule out an attempt to sign Smith as a tag-team flanker partner for David Pocock for the Super Rugby season.

It might seem like a pie-in-the-sky dream, but the Brumbies have the ability to sign Smith on a contract if the champion forward wants one last crack at a fairytale send off.

The Brumbies have a free roster spot after blood clots ruled out Ita Vaea for another year.

The Brumbies have not had any contact with Smith and Larkham has thrown his support behind the club's back-row stocks as they prepare to start their season next week.

But with powerful No. 8 Fotu Auelua ruled out for the first 10 weeks of the season, the romance of signing one of Australia's greatest players could be too good to resist.

''We certainly wouldn't rule out signing George,'' Larkham said.

''We've got a lot of young guys coming through who we're keen to see progress. But if George comes knocking on the door … I doubt he will, but you'd certainly consider it.

''I think we've got enough there. George would give us good coverage. We'll always be open to having George back, but we haven't explored it yet.''

The Brumbies decision to recruit Smith was a masterstroke.

Smith retired from Australian rugby in 2010 and moved his career to France and Japan.

In his first game back, former Wallabies captain Pocock ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and Smith agreed to stay on for the rest of the season.

It gave Smith a chance to revive his Test career - he played in the Wallabies' third Test against the British and Irish Lions - and became the Brumbies' most capped player with 142 games.

The 33-year-old appeared as if he never left Super Rugby and finished off his comeback with an amazing 10th Brumbies' Brett Robinson Award for the club's best player.

However, he missed out on a fairytale send-off when the Brumbies lost the Super Rugby grand final to the Waikato Chiefs.

At the time, Smith said: ''I got to leave on my terms.

''[Making a comeback] was never going to be about trying to get another contract here.''

1 comment so far

  • there is zero substitute for class and this man has it in spades; both on and off the field! this man is like one of the finest bottles of wine, the older he gets the better he gets.

    george smith is a man that cannot be ignored and any team who glosses over his availability is doing so at their own peril.

    i would love to see this man, and so would my wife just quietly, running around for one of the australian super rugby franchise (well, who are we kidding; the brumbies) and potentially in the wallabies gold in the near and foreseeable future!

    Date and time
    February 15, 2014, 9:22AM

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