Queensland Reds confirm George Smith signing

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Reds have confirmed the signing of George Smith, on a two-year deal.

The 111-Test veteran has just finished a contract with Wasps in the UK Premiership, where he claimed the players' player award. 

He has signed a deal with Suntory in the Japanese Top League and that is believed to still be on the agenda, before joining the Reds.

With incumbent Reds openside Liam Gill heading to Toulon next season, Smith would be a more than handy replacement. 

The fan favourite, who has reached cult-like status in recent seasons with his strong form.

Smith last played for the Brumbies in 2013, notching up 142 caps for the ACT franchise. 

His signing is another big coup for the Reds, who have already signed Wallabies captain Stephen Moore for the next three seasons. 

Reds general manager , Daniel Herbert said Smith would be an invaluable addition at Ballymore.

“George is one of the greats of the modern game. He is still one of the best number sevens in the world on current form and just took out the Rugby Players Association Players Player award in England and helped lift Wasps to an English Premiership semi-final this season,” he said.

“His uncompromising professionalism has helped him achieve almost every imaginable individual and team accolade the game offers.”

“George will be the best possible mentor to our young group and our emerging back-rowers. We’re looking forward to what he can offer our program both on and off the field. We are grateful to Suntory Sungoliath for their understanding and support.”

George Smith last played in Australia in 2013. Photo: Getty Images

Smith said in a statement he was preparing to settle in Brisbane with his family.

“The body feels great and the experience in England has been outstanding. I’m really looking forward to playing Super Rugby again. I want to make a positive difference wherever I go and I feel I can do this with the Reds,” he said.

“My family and I are relocating to Brisbane for the long term and so the opportunity to make a very strong contribution to the Queensland Reds and also the broader Queensland community is something we are really excited about as a family.

“They are building a really strong playing list and I believe I can make a big impression.

Smith, 35, will be a strong leader for the Reds, who have struggled with experience in recent years.

“The Reds have discussed their desire for me to also help mentor some of the young players and to share what I have learnt across my career with the next generation. That is one of the more exciting parts about coming to the Reds,” Smith said.

“I would like to personally acknowledge and thank Suntory Sungoliath for allowing me to return to Super Rugby and the Reds in between our Top League campaigns and endeavours in Japan.”