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Smith in line for Test return

 Apr 21,2013
Written by: SARugby.com Editor
 

Australia coach Robbie Deans confirmed a Wallabies recall for veteran flanker George Smith could happen against the Lions this year.

The 110-Test veteran, who has been granted a loan extension by his Japanese club until the end of the Super Rugby season, was outstanding as the Brumbies clung on for a 19-19 draw against the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.

Interest in Smith's availability has intensified following a season-ending knee injury to Wallabies flanker David Pocock, with Deans indicating he wants the 32-year-old back-rower in his squad to face the Lions.

Smith is contracted to Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath, who have agreed to allow him to remain in Australia until the end of the Brumbies' Super Rugby season and possibly to the August 3 final.

Players are ineligible to play for the Wallabies if they are foreign-based, but the contract extension could reopen the door for Smith.

"I wouldn't refuse it. It is a huge honour to play for the Wallabies," said Smith when asked whether he wanted to play Test rugby again.

"It is such a huge occasion playing against the Lions but we're talking about hypotheticals."

Deans confirmed his interest in selecting Smith.

"We've traded texts and we intend to talk tonight so we'll see what comes of that," he said.

"I don't know that the (Australian Rugby Union) has to change anything now that's he's essentially contracted to play in Australia... he's not a foreign player, so to speak.

"The critical question is whether George wants to do it. He's a class act.

"It'd be great to be able to consider George. But it comes down very much to what he wants to do. I don't want to pre-empt it because it may have to be cleared from further up the food chain. But we'll have a conversation."

Smith, who played against the Lions when they last toured Australia in 2001, said work still needs to be done by the ARU to ensure he has the blessing of Suntory to line up in the coming three-Test series against the Lions.

Smith played his last Test for the Wallabies against Wales in Cardiff in November 2009.

Deans will finalise a 31-man Test squad on June 11 ahead of the three Tests against the Lions from June 22 to July 6.
 

 

Tags: International |  Australia | 
 
 
 
 

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