Smith's quest to be Queensland's Benjamin Button

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

If George Smith is to be believed, he may be Queensland's very own Benjamin Button.

Smith will start at openside flanker for the Reds on Friday night against the Sharks, his first appearance in Australia since he started for the Wallabies against the British and Irish Lions in the third and final Test of the 2013 series.

When he was asked as to what Reds fans should expect upon his return, Smith said he is a better player now than he was four years ago.

"I hope they don’t expect the George Smith of old," he said.Smith will pack down with Scott Higginbotham and Adam Korczyk in the backrow. Photo: QRU/Brendan Hertel"I've developed into a different player than what I was,"

"I feel I am a more complete player these days and I may not be as fast as I was when I was 19-years-old but I think I’m a lot smarter in the way I play the game and I read the game better than I used to.

"I'd rather be the player I am now than I was a few years back," - George Smith

Smith also dismissed any concerns that his body may not be up to the rigours of Super Rugby.

"The pace at which you play in Japan is extremely high," he said.

"To continue to play at that level and at that speed for 80 minutes, continuously, if you look at those games, those questions wouldn't arise," - George Smith

"I understand people that haven't watched Japanese rugby wouldn't know that and wouldn't have seen how I have played over the last few weeks,"

The 36-year-old has a trophy cabinet full of premierships and rugby’s most prestigious accolades but he has his mind firmly set on success at Ballymore in 2017.

"I feel I’m ready to play for the Reds, I feel like I’m going well and I’m sure everyone in the team feels the same,” he said.

"What I want to achieve is success with the Reds.”

"We want to perform well for ourselves but we also want to perform for Queensland as a state.”