Wallabies abroad: Smith scores in Top League opener

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

George Smith didn’t miss a beat in his first Top League match of the season, reuniting with former Wallabies teammate Matt GIteau.

Smith, who lined up at no. 8, crossed for a try in Suntory’s 32-5 win over Canon, while Giteau played 55 minutes at inside centre on his Japanese debut.

Former Wallabies playmaker Berrick Barnes wasted no time in racking up the Top League points as the Japanese season got underway over the weekend.

Barnes slotted 13 points off the boot and had a try on top of that in Panasonic’s 45-21 win over Kubota, while Digby Ioane played the final 27 minutes of the clash and Daniel Heenan started at lock.

Anthony Faingaa’s Kintetsu Liners snatched an opening round thriller over Toyota Industries Shuttles, 13-12, with the former Reds back playing at outside centre.

Adam Ashley-Cooper came off the bench for Kobe Steel in a 39-16 win over NTT Docomo.

Though he’s not a Wallaby, Rebels no. 8 and Japan international Amanaki Mafi also made a positive start to his Top League campaign, with a try for the Shining Arcs, though his side went down 17-13 to Ricoh.


Matt Toomua made his Leicester comeback  on Friday night. Photo: Leicester TigersMatt Toomua played his first game in 10 months, lining up in a preseason match for Leicester over the weekend.

Toomua has played just two matches for the Tigers since joining them ahead of the 2016-17 season, suffering a serious knee injury in that second game.

The playmaker played the entire second half in a 47-12 win over Benetton Treviso, making it through the stint unscathed.

“It was great to get him back out there,” Leicester coach Matt O’Connor told the Leicester Tigers website.

“He certainly got tested at stages, his knee is fine, he came through well. He is a big contributor within the camp and it’s good to see him back on the field.”