Smith rules out Wallabies return

Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

George Smith has declared his Test days are done, despite his looming return to Australia.

After 111 tests, Smith said he was happy with his Wallabies legacy pleased to put a full stop on his Wallabies days and focus on his Super Rugby comeback, with the Queensland Reds.

"I don't have the desire to play for Australia anymore,” Smith said at the announcement of HSBC’s partnership with Australian Rugby.

"I really enjoyed my time in the Wallabies jersey and I'm really proud of the legacy I left in the jersey, but for me, moving forward I'm trying to be the best provincial player or best club player I can with the time that I have."

George Smith last played for the Wallabies during the 2013 Lions Tour. Photo: Getty Images

Smith would have been eligible for the Wallabies wherever he was playing, with the recently introduced "Giteau's Law" allowing players who have played more than 60 caps to be selected from overseas, and with is form in the UK speculation was that he woudl have another Wallabies comeback.

The veteran backrower is set to bookend his career with an Australian return, though opting against a move to the Brumbies, where he has played all his Super Rugby.

“The opportunity to play for the Reds came up,” he said.

“I’ve had a long association with the Brumbies, I first started playing professionally there. To play for a different team in the provinces was a big decision.

“I’m looking forward to it, it’s a nice challenge for myself being about 36 at that time. I’m no spring chicken out there."

Smith has shown no signs of slowing with age, having claimed the RPA's Players' Player Award after a sensational season with Wasps.

Part of Smith’s role at the Reds will be mentoring the next generation of rugby stars, something he is very passionate about.

In fact, it's something that may have helped England win the opening Test against the Wallabies.

Smith was playing alongside England flanker James Haskell at Wasps and came down to the the squad ahead of the series, focusing on the breakdown.

James Haskell is in career best form after playing alongside George Smith at Wasps. Photo: Getty Images

Haskell was man of the match against Australia last week and Smith said his desire to become a better player was paying off.

“When I first did meet him at training he always had that desire to improve as a player, he came in and asked for help in any areas that he could improve on,” he said.

“It was great to see a player looking to improve his skill set and he did that continually throughout the year.

"It's nice that he's mentioning me in some of his skill set improvements, although I don't like to see it when he doing it against Australia.”

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