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Wallabies great Smith ready to play at home in Super deal

Brumbies legend George Smith could be coming back to play Super Rugby.

Brumbies legend George Smith could be coming back to play Super Rugby. Photo: Andrew Sheargold

WALLABIES legend George Smith is poised to make a return to Australian rugby to play for a Super Rugby franchise on a short-term deal for this season. He will not be putting his hand up for a Test comeback.

It is not known with which of the five Australian franchises the 32-year-old back-rower has been negotiating, but Fairfax Media understands an announcement has been scheduled for this week, possibly as early as Monday.

Smith, a 110-Test veteran, played with the Brumbies for 10 years and earned 120 Super caps with the Canberra side before leaving Australia in 2010 after the Super Rugby season to pursue his career overseas with the French Top 14 side, Toulon, for one season.

He then left Toulon to join the Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath in 2011 on a three-year, $1.2 million-a-season deal, making him the highest-paid Australian rugby player.

He has recently re-signed with the Tokyo-based club, who played Kobe Kobelco Steelers in the final of the All-Japan Championship in Tokyo on Sunday.

But with the season in Japan over, Smith now has time to play in Australia because Suntory Sungoliath players will not reconvene for pre-season training until June.

Smith is due to return to Australia this week to join his family in Sydney, who have welcomed a new addition with the birth of his and his wife Louise's fourth child, Rafael, now seven months old.

But the three-month break before he is needed back in Japan will allow Smith time to play Super Rugby again pending Suntory Sungoliath approval.

A similar arrangement last year had Smith playing in the Top 14 for Paris-based Stade Francais.

His return to Super Rugby will surprise many in Australia. There is no apparent lack of depth of openside breakaways or back-rowers among the Australian franchises.

Starting No.7s in round two of Super Rugby were David Pocock (Brumbies) who took the national strip from Smith at the end of his Test career, Michael Hooper (Waratahs), Liam Gill (Reds), Matt Hodgson (Force) and Kiwi Scott Fuglistaller (Rebels).

Smith was one of the world's best No.7s when he was at his peak. However, he can also play anywhere in the back row; and while he has pursued his career overseas in recent years, injury or circumstances in games have regularly required him to cover at the half-back, No.10 and No.12 slots.

In Japan, Smith has reportedly been blitzing the field for Suntory Sungoliath. His tactical brilliance and read of game, and his technique and physicality at the breakdown are reportedly as strong as ever.

That the Japanese game has not affected his standard of play would be of no shock to Waratahs coach Michael Cheika, who last year coached Stade Francais before joining the Waratahs and had Smith under his wing at that time.

''George Smith came and played in France for me for a few months … it didn't look like it affected him too much,'' Cheika said last month.

Twitter: @rupertguinness

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Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
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 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
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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
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WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
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LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
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WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
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Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
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