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Brumbies legend says it's great to have the old gang back

George Smith is back at the Brumbies.

George Smith is back at the Brumbies. Photo: Marina Neil

There's only one question Joe Roff has about George Smith's return to the ACT Brumbies - where's my contract?

Roff played with Smith in the Brumbies' 2001 and 2004 Super Rugby championships, as did current backs coach Stephen Larkham.

It makes Smith's return on a short-term contract a trip down memory lane for the pair.

Joe Roff on Monday.

Joe Roff on Monday. Photo: Jay Cronan

Especially on the back of Clyde Rathbone's return from retirement to play in both of the Brumbies' games this year.

Rathbone also played in the 2004 Super Rugby final - the last time the Brumbies made the play-offs.

There was talk of Larkham pulling on the boots to help with a back line injury crisis last year, but he opted to keep them in the cupboard.

Roff, 37, said the appointment made him feel young again. ''I've dusted off the boots, I'm just waiting for [Brumbies coach] Jake [White] to extend the invitation,'' he said with a laugh.

''It's great from nostalgia's point of view that there's still someone, it makes you feel young that there's still someone that you played with still playing - like Clyde and George.

''But it's a different place [at the Brumbies now, captain] Ben [Mowen] and the team have created a distinct culture based on the Brumbies' values and it's really working.

''It's not like 2004, but it's as good.''

The former winger holds Smith in such high regard he was worried any comments he made about his former teammate might come across as a ''man crush''.

As a back, Roff had ''no idea'' where White would play Smith, leaving that to people who were ''knowledgeable about what forwards do''.

But he would love to see Smith and David Pocock, two of the game's great openside flankers, on the field at the same time.

''As winger you start to slow down, but he just keeps going,'' Roff said.

''From all reports he just keeps playing exceptional rugby wherever he goes, whether it's France or Japan, and it's not surprising.

''He's all class and he's the right type of person to slot in because he's such a team man to not be disruptive, despite being - at his best and arguably now still - the best player in the world.''

Larkham said Smith's return would allow the blindside flanker to pair up with Rathbone again - something that didn't happen as often as it should have the last time Smith was in Canberra.

Rathbone was forced to retire due to a chronic knee injury in 2009 - a year before Smith left the Brumbies to play in France and Japan.

''I guess for most of that time when Clyde was playing he was injured, he had a fair share of injuries and George was generally on the field every single game,'' Larkham said.

''He was one of those players that was never injured.''

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Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
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SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
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RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
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ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
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RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
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