Smith coming back home with Reds
THE Queensland Reds have landed a major fish, capturing veteran George Smith on a two-year contract from next year.
The 35-year-old flanker, who played 111 Tests for Australia, was announced as the new signing yesterday.
Smith, who has been starring for Wasps in the English Premiership, now wants to settle down with his family in Brisbane after a few years playing in Europe and Japan. The Reds signed Smith as a replacement for Liam Gill, who is on his way to Toulon, where Smith played in 2010-11.
Queensland Rugby general manager Daniel Herbert said the Super Rugby franchise was delighted to get Smith to sign on.
"George will be the best possible mentor to our young group and our emerging back-rowers," the former Wallaby said.
"George is one of the greats of the modern game.
"He is still one of the best number sevens in the world on current form."
While Smith played 11 seasons in Canberra for the Brumbies, he also has family in Queensland and that is why he decided to relocate to the Sunshine State.
He said he would not wait to get back into Super Rugby and start working with his new teammates.
"The body feels great and the experience in England has been outstanding," Smith said.
"I’m really looking forward to playing Super Rugby again.
"I want to make a positive difference wherever I go and I feel I can do this with the Reds."
Smith has had a stellar season with Wasps, helping the club to the English Premiership semi-finals.
His form has been that good, he picked up the Rugby Players’ Association Players’ Player award for the English season just finished.
After his time at the Brumbies and Toulon, Smith headed to Japan to play for Suntory Goliath.
He went back to the Brumbies on a short-term deal in 2013 to replace the injured Ita Vaea.
Smith also earned a recall into the Wallabies squad that year and played in the third Test against the British and Irish Lions.