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Queensland Rugby Union has secured the services of one of Australia’s greatest-ever flankers, with George Smith AM agreeing to join the St.George Queensland Reds on a two-year deal.
Smith will join the Reds for the 2017 and 2018 Super Rugby seasons, while also playing for Suntory Sungoliath in Japan’s Top League. Smith made his Super Rugby debut back in 2000.
He will bring significant experience to the Reds’ ranks, having played 142 games of Super Rugby and 111 Tests for Australia.
QRU Executive General Manager - Reds, Daniel Herbert, 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 and just took out the Rugby Players Association Players Player award in England and helped lift Wasps to an English Premiership semi-final this season. His uncompromising professionalism has helped him achieve almost every imaginable individual and team accolade the game offers.
“George will be the best possible mentor to our young group and our emerging back-rowers. We’re looking forward to what he can offer our program both on and off the field. We are grateful to Suntory Sungoliath for their understanding and support.”
Smith said he was looking forward to returning to Super Rugby and joining his new teammates at Ballymore.
“The body feels great and the experience in England has been outstanding. 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,” he said.
“My family and I are relocating to Brisbane for the long term and so the opportunity to make a very strong contribution to the Queensland Reds and also the broader Queensland community is something we are really excited about as a family. They are building a really strong playing list and I believe I can make a big impression.
“The Reds have discussed their desire for me to also help mentor some of the young players and to share what I have learnt across my career with the next generation. That is one of the more exciting parts about coming to the Reds. I would like to personally acknowledge and thank Suntory Sungoliath for allowing me to return to Super Rugby and the Reds in between our Top League campaigns and endeavours in Japan.”
POB: Manly, NSW
Representative honours: Wallabies (2000-2009, 2013), Rugby World Cup (2003, 2007) Super Rugby debut: 2000 v Sharks, Canberra
Super Rugby caps: 142
Super Rugby points: 80 (16T)
Test debut: 2000 v France, Paris
Test caps: 111
Test points: 45 (9T)
23 JANUARY 2019