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Smith can lead ACT to a title


Chris Dutton

George Smith in action for the Brumbies in 2010.

George Smith in action for the Brumbies in 2010. Photo: Getty Images

Fitter, smarter, faster and stronger - Eddie Jones is convinced George Smith can be a potential championship-winning recruit for the ACT Brumbies.

And while 32-year-old Smith hasn't played Super Rugby for three years, it took former Wallabies coach Jones just four words to convince Brumbies coach Jake White that Smith was capable of dominating the competition: ''He's still got it.''

The Brumbies unveiled Smith as a prized signing on Monday and the 110-Test Wallaby looms as the ''last piece of the puzzle'' as the two-time champions chase glory this season.

A meeting between Jones, White and Brumbies great George Gregan earlier this month prompted Jones to go to Japan to see if Smith was keen to return to Canberra in Suntory's off-season.

The Brumbies had a free roster spot with Ita Vaea out for the season as he fights a heart condition.

Jones - the Japanese Test coach - said the timing was perfect for Smith to make a comeback.

''He loves playing rugby and he loves the Brumbies … At 32 it might be his last opportunity to give Super Rugby a go and show everyone how good of a player he is,'' Jones said.

''He's still got it. He had 110 Test caps by the time he was 29. He's one year older than [New Zealand captain] Richie McCaw but no one questions whether McCaw should play for the All Blacks.

''George is a special player. He's fitter, stronger and faster than when he left, I've got not doubt about it.

''The reality is George has probably won more trophies than the whole Brumbies team together … special players like that can teach others how to win.''

Smith will train with the Brumbies for the first time on Friday after signing a deal for the rest of the season.

He has just helped Suntory to its fifth straight championship.

But while he has signed million-dollar deals in Japan and France, Smith's return to Canberra isn't about money. In fact, White said the contract value was ''laughable'' for a World Cup player, Super Rugby champion and nine-time Brumbies best-and-fairest winner.

''He's coming back to play rugby because he loves it, not for money,'' White said.

''The money I can offer him is minimal and that sums up what kind of guy he is. He's coming back because he's playing good rugby, he doesn't want to take a break and he loves the Brumbies.

''I know what he's worth to the team.''

White hopes the Brumbies' impressive start to the season and Smith's return will attract more than 20,000 to Canberra Stadium for the team's clash with arch-rivals the NSW Waratahs on March 9.

Smith is one of two championship-winning players - with Clyde Rathbone - on the Brumbies roster.

It's unknown how White will fit him into the game-day squad. David Pocock will keep the No.7 jersey that Smith made his own for a decade at the Brumbies.

But White can lighten Wallabies captain Pocock's workload and terrorise teams with a fresh Smith causing havoc late in games.

Jones said Smith had been playing as a blindside flanker and No.8 instead of openside flanker in Japan, ''and he reads the game better than ever''.

Brumbies powerhouse Fotu Auelua teamed with Smith at Toulon two years ago and while he will be battling with Smith for a spot in the game-day squad, the Samoan couldn't wait to reunite.

''He helped me a lot … there's only one George Smith and to have someone like that in our team is going to boost everyone,'' Auelua said.

''The way I saw him plan in Japan, I don't think he would ever fade away.

''To still have the passion to play, it means a lot to us at the Brumbies. He's world class and it will motivate me and the team to get better.''

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 3 0 3 0 -139 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 3 2 1 0 56 11
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 2 0 2 0 -32 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Tonga 3 1 2 0 -22 6
Georgia 3 1 2 0 -71 4
Namibia 2 0 2 0 -58 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Romania 3 1 2 0 -59 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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