Wallabies backrow not far off mark, says Smith

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

George Smith cast an analytical eye over the June Tests and doesn't see anything wrong with the Wallabies backrow dynamic, despite obvious issues throughout the series.

The breakdown virtuoso did some work with the Wallabies in the lead-up to the clash with Scotland and the inability to clear the ruck was a hot topic in the days following the loss.

"I thought they flooded the breakdown really well, the Scots," Smith told RUGBY.com.au.

"A lot of the ball when the Aussies were attacking - the placement of the ball wasn't great.

"When they did place the ball to the inside, it allowed or invited the Scots to get the jump on the players.

"That makes it far harder to clean or present the ball in an attacking raid.

"There were a number of issues in that area but I think they learned from that and played well in the next game."

The 36-year-old also queried the school of thought that the Wallabies are missing an out and out fetcher with David Pocock on sabbatical and Michael Hooper - who was superb all series - starting at openside flanker.

"You see a player like Ardie Savea, who plays similar to Michael Hooper," Smith said.

"He links with the backs extremely well, he's fast around the field, he is able to play within the backline and play very well - it's not about changing that.

"Hooper has been one of the standouts." - George Smith.

Smith and his Reds teammates resumed full training today in preparation for Friday's clash with the Brumbies.

The last time they met, Stephen Moore described the 43-10 result as "embarrassing".

"We were humbled down there in Canberra when we went up against them and I think we are definitely going to go out there with better commitment in everything we do in this game," Smith said.

"We didn't play well in that second half and we got punished by a Brumbies team that was executing well."

Smith was well beaten by a red hot Chris Alcock on that night and while he won't use that as a source of motivation, he understands the importance of reversing the roles on Friday night.

"He played all over me in that game.

"You want to play over your opposite number and I will be looking to do that - there's no doubt there.

"But at the same time I need to be contributing to the team and playing within the systems that we have.

"Me playing well within the team in most cases, means we wend up playing a big game."