George Smith says so long to the Wallabies - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

George Smith says so long to the Wallabies

George Smith says so long to the Wallabies

Wallaby Legend George Smith is leaving the building.  In this odd metaphor, harking back to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, the King is George Smith and the ‘building’ is the Wallaby team. In a somewhat surprising development, we today learn that we will never get the chance to see George Smith play for the Wallabies again. Effective the end of the Super 14 season this year, Smith will no longer play rugby in Australia, having been granted a release by both the Brumbies and the ARU.

It is a stunning development for someone who has achieved everything in world rugby – except for a World Cup win.  Given his retirement will commence a little over 12 months prior to the kick of the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, the decision seems even more staggering.  Now, Australia are by no means certainties to bring home the Web Ellis Cup, but we’re in with a shot. And regardless of the emergence of David Pocock, Smith is still a valuable and almost indispensable part of this Wallaby team.

But it is his decision and the ARU and the Brumbies should be commended for granting him the release.  There is no one who deserves it more for George Smith has been an absolute servant of the game in this country, being one of our most recognisable properties, whilst also being our most consistent performer and one of our few World Class players in this last decade.  A fact realised by him being named G&GR’s Wallaby Player of the Decade, earlier this year.

He’s done it all. Super 12 titles. Bledisloe Cups. Tri-Nations wins. He’s even been apart of a series victory over the British and Irish Lions, and their aint many Wallabies who can lay claim to that!
For me, he’s been one of those players who had the ability to simply amaze me with his play. Whether it be is ability to make the covering tackle and secure the turnover all in the one movement. Or some of his sublime try making passes. And the kicks. Oh the kicks.

I remember his test debut in France, watching it late at night, and being amazed at this teenager’s abilities to mix it with the tough French pack. He got a yellow card that game.  But won man of the match and we won the test. Nice start. Not long after he was playing a crucial role in that amazing series win over the Lions. What a baptism of fire.

And to his last test, which we didn’t know would be his last. Disappointedly, somewhat, he came off the bench. But it was still to be a phenomenal performance against
the Welsh last year, a game we won on the back of a brilliant David Pocock performance in the first half and a brilliant George Smith performance in the 2nd.  And how fitting has that match turned out to be. Not only did it feature the man who is set to wear Smith’s 7 jersey for many years to come, in Pocock, but it was played in a country in which Rugby is a religion. The Welsh know there rugby, so it seems fitting that one of the best we’ve ever seen gets to play his final test in a country that so truly would’ve appreciated his talents and achievements.

Farewell George. You’ve just given us all just another reason to watch this Super 14 season more intently. To watch your final 13 (hopefully 15) games of rugby in this country. Well done mate.

GEORGE SMITH FACT FILE

Born: 14 July 1980
Height: 180cm
Weight: 104kg
Position: Flanker
Super 14 caps: 120
Super 14 debut: v Sharks (2000)
Super 14 points: 75 (15 tries)
Test caps: 110
Test debut: v France (2000)
Test points: 45 (9 tries)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXLYBa5YIqw[/youtube]

  • Hillsy

    My Brother played with Horhey back in Colts days(where he perfected his kicking prowess), and from all accounts he was a Phenomenon then, and he is a Phenomenon now.

    Such a shame to see the most talismatic player in the Australian squad not getting to hold the WWE. I am glad he is not leaving us with a massive hole to fill, but i would have loved to see the Pocock/Smith mix coming into New Zealand next year.

    Wish him all the best, but no doubt his ledgendary status will continue over in Europe.

    Any word on where he is going?

    • Searsy

      The departure lounge aka Japan.

    • Noddy

      from the man himself

      ““I believe that now is the time for me to give back to my family, to be able to spend more quality time with my wife and young children. It has become increasingly difficult for me to spend large periods of time away from home and my family and this is something that I would like to change.

      “I would also like the opportunity to experience a different environment and culture together as a family unit whilst still playing competitive rugby. I personally feel that I owe this opportunity to my family.

      “In light of these considerations it is my intention to explore the opportunities to play for an international club at the conclusion of the 2010 Super 14 season. The decision as to where I will continue my rugby career will be made with regards to the best interests of my family and I have no definite plans in this regard at this time.”

      • Hillsy

        Would it be over the top if we put a highlights reel together? Might take some time.

  • Searsy

    Maybe winning the G&GR player of the decade award was the catalyst. After recieving such a prestigious award, he had nothing left to achieve in the game.
    If 3 more people had voted for Steve Larkham he would still be playing. Thankyou very much G&GR, you have driven George Smith into representative retirement.

    • There was no summit left to climb

      • Noddy

        how bloody poetic of you.

  • Pedro

    Boo! Please don’t retire, absolute legend.

  • Cameron

    Sorry to hear it — I thought the next Lions tour wasn’t even out of the question — but if the heart’s not in it the heart’s not in. Good luck George.

  • STEVE PRITCHARD

    ENJOY YA RETIREMENT YOUVE EARNT IT SMITTY

  • Bobas

    I still tip Smithy to get another GAGR player of the decade.

  • Ozrugbynut

    Gutted.

    But what a servant to Australian rugby -through its highs and lows..

    I hope he remains very close to the WBs setup, because he (gulp) was at the heart of this team.

    Those european/japanese clubs will be checking their bank balances…

    • Robson

      And I hope that one of them has got enough to pay what he is worth.

  • CanadianRugby

    As someone who only started watching Rugby the year after he started, I will judge every other 7 against George Smith. And I doubt anyone will fully live up to the standards he set. All the young Brumbies should spend as much time around George as they can this year, to gain every scrap of knowledge they can before he leaves.

    Enjoy the next stage of your career GS, as people have already said, you earned it.

  • Juan Cote

    Would a chip-n-chase try be too much to wish for during this Super 14 season?

  • Gumby

    What a fantastic Rugby Career. Congrats and man we will miss you.

  • Jake

    Open door for Phil Waugh though, finally gets his chance

  • Ben

    What a shame, we have been truely spoilt this past decade. Good on you George.

    Now it will be interesting to test our depth at 7….perhaps finally Hoiles will get the backup 7 job for the wallabies.

  • chief

    Heart just dropped. So sad, good luck buddy. You deserve all the money you get overseas. What a trooper

  • Rocky Elboa

    Feeling depressed today after hearing this news.

    I feel lucky to have watched you play and happy that I got to watch you play your last game in Cardiff where you proved to still be a master of your craft

    What a legend! Fair well George, happy and safe travels

  • K Dog

    So sad to hear George is going, have loved watching him play over the years.

    You are a legend George Smith.

    Bernie and George the two GREATS of Australian rugby….

  • Jets

    What a champion. I wish him the best for the future. Sad day for fans but we could ask no more of him.

  • piggies 7

    a hero for young players. all the best, wish you had stayed on for 2011, but at least pocock has come of age.

  • Ron of Kerikeri, NZ

    Sorry to see you’re leaving the Wallies, George. I’ve enjoyed watching you play over many years developing into a major force in the game. I wish you every success exploring new fields and enjoyment of the time you seek with your family. I am sure that your discovery of a new hair stylist will prove to be a major benefit in your job search :)

  • smittay

    smith you were and are a living legend…sad to see you go but happy for you at the same time that you can spend more time with your family ! all the best

  • Joe Blow

    A true legend of the game who gave everything for Australian rugby over the past decade.
    Very sad to see him go but his decision to do so 1 year out from a RWC and for the reasons he states only serve to command more respect from the world of rugby…….if that is possible.
    Best of luck GS.

  • Sylvester

    Awesome player in his prime, loved watching him produce turn over after turn over. As the years went on his attacking game really started to come through. Probably the right time to call it quits, he hasn’t had quite the same impact on matches of late, McCaw has been a fair way above him and the constant swapping of Waugh and Pocock shows Smith isn’t what he once was.

    • Gumby

      “McCaw a fair way above him”; Bollocks!

      McCaw has just about always played behind a dominant pack or at the least a competitive pack. Smith played behind a weak pack for the majority of his career and often enough was the only player on the planet to be talked about in the same breath as RM. Would have loved to see them swap packs and then match up. I would have put my money on Smith in that scenario.

      And as good as Waugh is when was the last time he was selected over Smith?

  • mudskipper

    Best ever Australian 7… A champion and a gentleman… All the best George to you and your family… Thanks for all the great rugby… You’ll be missed… many thanks for all the countless times you saved the Wallabies and the Brumbies…

  • Newb

    was out of the country for a bit and disconnected. came back to find this out. jaw dropped. what a bloke. only the best for him down the road.

  • Retiring at 29 – geez – most of my mates didn’t think about retiring until 49 – mind you we were not very good. It is too early!

  • Zac

    Goodbye you awsome rugby player. We shall miss you dearly and will cherish the highlights of your career good luck with the rest of your life.

    P.S. Come to More footy GAMES!!!!

ACT Brumbies
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The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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