Queensland Reds fine Smith over Tokyo arrest

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

The Reds have fined George Smith for keeping the club in the dark about his arrest in Japan, and subsequently missing a week of work at Ballymore.

Smith was arrested in Japan on New Year's Eve for allegedly assaulting a taxi driver, detained for 18 days by Japanese authorities, with the Reds only learning of the incident when it was reported in the Japanese media well after the fact.

RUGBY.com.au understands the 37-year-old met with Reds CEO Richard Barker and other stakeholders upon his return to Brisbane last week, asked to explain how he landed himself in hot water on New Year's Eve.

While the QRU and Smith's management have confirmation that Japanese prosecutors have now cleared him of all wrongdoing, the club was still seething that they found out about the incident through reports in Japanese media - 18 days after the incident.Smith is aiming for an April return. Photo: Getty ImagesIt's understood Smith was contrite in his meeting with Barker, accepting that he should have been more forthcoming with the knowledge that news of his arrest would eventually break and that he should have arrived back in Brisbane earlier.

He is expected to issue a formal apology through the QRU, having returned to Ballymore to begin rehab on his back on Monday.

Smith is targeting a return to the field in April, against either the Brumbies or Waratahs, in round eight and nine respectively.

The flanker has one year left on his Japanese contract, but it is unclear whether that will be honoured.