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Smith's return a challenge, even for Pocock, warns Cheika

110 Tests … Smith in France

110 Tests … Smith in France Photo: Getty Images

AS SOON as he heard Wallabies legend George Smith was returning to Australia to play for the Brumbies this season, NSW Waratahs coach Michael Cheika began stirring the pot in hope that the 110-Test veteran would play in their round-four clash in Canberra next week.

Cheika coached Smith at Stade Francaise in Paris last year after the season in Japan where Smith plays for Suntory Sungoliath. He was one of many to welcome news of Smith's decision to come back to Australia and play Super Rugby as reported by Fairfax Media on Monday.

Cheika believes Smith could even give Brumbies recruit David Pocock, who took the Wallabies No.7 jersey from him in 2009, a headache or two.

''It's great for the game that [Smith] is back in it. He left far too early,'' Cheika said, smiling. ''I'll tell you what, Pocock might be a little bit worried now.''

Smith, who earned 120 Super caps at the Brumbies before leaving in 2010 for French club Toulon, then Suntory Sungoliath, who won the All Japan championship on Sunday, is on a three-month deal with the Canberra side that lost back-rower Ita Vaea for the season because of a heart condition.

It is hoped Smith will be available for Saturday week's Brumbies-Waratahs clash at Canberra Stadium; and not just by the Brumbies - but Cheika too.

''He is a quality person, a quality player. He is going to surprise a few people with how good he is, how sharp. We will have to make sure we don't do him any favours when we go down there to play,'' Cheika said, adding Smith would never play for any Australian Super club other than the Brumbies.

''It's a bit of a no-brainer. I know from being with him. He would probably rather eat poison than play in another colour apart from the Brumbies' colours. I know that. It'll be great if he gets to play against us. I look forward to trying to send someone out to give him a little tickle.''

While Smith will not be raising his hand for a return to the national team, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans believes that his comeback to Super Rugby will have a positive impact on his squad - especially the younger players - in the build-up to selection for the British and Irish Lions tour.

''A bloke of George's experience offers a lot. It's great to have players of that nature rubbing shoulders with the next generation,'' Deans said.

Pocock realises that Smith's presence back at the Brumbies will keep him on his toes.

''Absolutely. That's what you want,'' Pocock said of the prospect. ''Everyone would want to play alongside George. He has played over a hundred Tests, and since he left Australia, he has played a lot of rugby in France and Japan. You can always learn things from George.''

Waratahs No. 7, Michael Hooper, would relish the chance to play against Smith, even though his hands will be full taking on Pocock.

Hooper, who trained with Smith at the Brumbies before he left for France in 2010, said: ''He told me little things, little bits and pieces; but I guess mainly to, 'Play your own game. You are not going to be like anyone else, so just work on things you are good at.' He was always good like that.''

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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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Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
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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Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
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
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
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USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
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IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
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Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
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ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
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FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
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IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
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Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
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