Smith gets full backing from Brumbies


Fitter, smarter, faster and stronger - Eddie Jones is convinced George Smith can be a potential championship-winning recruit for the ACT Brumbies.

And, while 32-year-old Smith hasn't played Super Rugby for the past three years, it took former Wallabies coach Jones just four words to convince Brumbies coach Jake White Smith was capable of dominating the competition: "He's still got it".

The Brumbies unveiled Smith as a prized signing on Monday and the 110-Test Wallaby looms as the "last piece of the puzzle" as the two-time champions chase glory this season.

A meeting between Jones, White and Brumbies great George Gregan earlier this month prompted Jones to return to Japan to see if Smith was keen to return to Canberra in Suntory's off-season.

The Brumbies had a free roster spot with Ita Vaea out for the season as he fights a heart condition that could have killed him while playing a game, had he continued.

Jones - the Japanese Test coach - said the timing was perfect for Smith to make a comeback and join the revival in the capital.

"He loves playing rugby and he loves the Brumbies . . . At 32, it might be his last opportunity to give Super Rugby a go and show everyone how good of a player he is," Jones said.

"He's still got it. He had 110 Test caps by the time he was 29, he's one year older than [New Zealand captain] Richie McCaw but no one questions whether McCaw should play for the All Blacks. George is a special player, he's fitter, stronger and faster than when he left, I've got no doubt about it.

"The reality is George has probably won more trophies than the whole Brumbies team together . . . special players like that can teach others how to win."

Smith will train with the Brumbies for the first time on Friday after signing a deal for the remainder of the season. He has just helped Suntory to their fifth straight championship and has achieved almost every accolade in world rugby.

During his 10-year Australian career, he was one of the most important players for the Wallabies.

But, while he has signed million-dollar deals in Japan and France, Smith's return to Canberra isn't about money.

In fact, White said the contract value was "laughable" for a World Cup player, Super Rugby champion and nine-time Brumbies best and fairest winner.

"He's coming back to play rugby because he loves it."

 Wallaby legend George Smith still has plenty to offer the game. Picture: TIM CLAYTON

Wallaby legend George Smith still has plenty to offer the game. Picture: TIM CLAYTON


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