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Thread: Celebrated Qantas Wallabies Flanker George Smith Retires from Test Rugby

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    Celebrated Qantas Wallabies Flanker George Smith Retires from Test Rugby

    Celebrated Qantas Wallabies Flanker George Smith Retires from Test Rugby

    February 05, 2010 - 10:59am
    Story by: ARU
    George Smith has today announced his retirement from Test Rugby.


    Qantas Wallabies flanker George Smith – one of only four Australians to have reached the milestone of 100 Tests – has announced his retirement from international Rugby and will be released from his ARU and Brumbies contract at the end of the 2010 Super 14 season.

    The 110-Test veteran recently approached ARU and Brumbies officials to discuss his future and felt after 10 seasons in the Australian jumper he wanted to explore other options.

    Talks led to the 29-year-old, who made his Test debut with a man of the match performance against France in Paris in 2000, requesting an early release from an ARU contract that was to expire after the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

    “George has made an enormous contribution to Australian Rugby for more than a decade,” said ARU Managing Director and CEO John O’Neill.

    “His list of achievements in the game, both with the Brumbies in Super Rugby and with the Wallabies at the highest levels of the game, stands him alongside the all time greats.

    “Obviously we wanted George to stay and continue through to his third Rugby World Cup.

    “We had lengthy discussions. However, when he made it clear that his passion for international Rugby was not the driving force it once was, we agreed there were suitable grounds for an early release given his long and continuous service to the game in this country.

    “We could have insisted he see out his contract and blocked any opportunities to play the game overseas before the next Rugby World Cup. His wholehearted commitment over 10 years, however, deserves special consideration.

    “We wish George all the best for the future as he enters his final season of Super Rugby with the Brumbies.”

    Smith said it was a difficult decision to leave Australian Rugby at the end of May having started with the Brumbies in 1999 and the Wallabies a season later.

    “I have been involved with the Qantas Wallabies and Rugby at the highest level internationally for over 10 years,” he said.

    “Throughout these 10 years I have always held a deep respect and honour for the Wallabies jersey and for what it means to be a Wallaby. I have considered it a privilege to wear the gold jersey in representation of my family, my friends, my fellow players, past Wallabies and of course my country.

    “Being a part of the Australian Rugby family has also allowed me to form and develop lifelong friendships. From coaching staff and mentors who have helped nurture my ability as a player to my fellow players who have not only treated me as an equal from my debut in France 2000, but also helped me to become a better Rugby player and I believe, a better person”

    “The decision to retire from Test Rugby has been a very difficult one for me and one that I have made after much consideration and soul searching in recent months.

    “Although I believe that I could play competitive rugby at the highest level and contribute to the Wallabies for many years to come I know in my heart that this is the right time to step aside.

    “In recent times I believe that the Wallabies have created the right balance between providing opportunity for the outstanding young talent that is within Australian rugby and also having the knowledge and experience in senior players to bring out their very best.

    “Under Robbie Deans the Wallabies player group has committed itself and worked incredibly hard and I believe that the fruits of this hard work will be seen in the months and years ahead, most importantly at the 2011 World Cup.

    “With Robbie, Rocky and the current player group I believe that the Wallabies brand and culture is in the best of hands.

    “It is largely a decision about the most important people in my life: my family. As many of you would be aware I have a young family with three children under five and I feel that my wife Louise and my family have made a great many sacrifices to allow me to pursue my rugby career over the years.

    “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.

    “As I mentioned earlier this has not been an easy decision for me to make and I would like to particularly thank Australian Rugby Union CEO John O'Neill and Head Coach Robbie Deans as well as Brumbies CEO Andrew Fagan and Head Coach Andy Friend for their openness and understanding of my situation and also for the manner in which they have considered and accepted my decision.

    “I would also like to thank all of the people in the Australian Rugby family, most particularly the fans of the Brumbies and the Wallabies, who have always been so supportive of my career”.

    Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said Smith possessed exceptional qualities – as a rare backrow talent with an almost indestructible physique and leadership abilities which carried him to the heights of captaining his country.

    “You only have to look at the statistics of his career to realise what a special player George is, and to appreciate the enormity of his contribution to Australian Rugby,” he said.

    “Not only has he been a great team man, he has been a fine leader of young men as a role model – both as a player and as a captain. Consistency, both in terms of his availability and the level of his performance, has been his hallmark.”

    Brumbies coach Andy Friend said Smith’s record speaks for itself: “More than 100 Tests, 120 games of Super Rugby for the Brumbies, eight Brett Robinson Players Player Awards (at the Brumbies) and four Super 14 Player of the Year awards demonstrate what a tremendous footballer George Smith is.”

    “The Brumbies have been extremely fortunate to have someone who’s not only an immensely talented footballer but a fantastic bloke in their squad for the last 10 years and his performances will long live in the memory of anyone that’s witnessed him play.

    “We wish both him and his family every success wherever they go; he’ll always be considered a Brumby and he’d always be welcome back should he choose to return.”

    Brumbies CEO Andrew Fagan added: “George is arguably the greatest Brumby and Wallaby to have played the game and there is little that he hasn’t achieved during his career.

    “He’s always been very honest and a man of great character and we did not want to stand in his way. I think I speak for all Brumbies fans in hoping the side plays a role in this year’s Super 14 finals to give a great of the game a fitting send off.”

    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)

    http://www.rugby.com.au/news/wallabi.../section/21893

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    does he smell pocock coming up? i doubt it, good on you george, you have been a great servant to the game, and have always played hard and fair.

    good luck!

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    He's a pretty humble bloke and I guess in part he didn't want all the fanfare of "final match for the Wallabies" type stuff, though I hope he knew himself and perhaps his performance against Wales indicated he may have. Probably his best 40 for a few years.
    He's left the position in great hands and owes us nothing so good luck to him.
    I bet there are some frantic phone calls happening in Europe and Japan this morning!
    Thanks for the memories George

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    I bet there are some frantic phone calls happening in Europe and Japan this morning! Thanks for the memories George
    With all the hints about how he and his family are interested in experiencing other cultures I would say it's a sure bet he's already signed on for a team overseas. I suspect he's off to France.

    and bloody good luck to him.
    Nice bloke, great player!

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    A true wallaby legend, thanks for the memories George and best of luck.

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    Good onya george. True proffesional and one of the best on and off the field.

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    Legend Contributor brokendown gunfighter's Avatar
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    maybe the committee had a word in his ear

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    Smith retires from international rugby

    AAP February 5, 2010, 8:34 am

    Long-time Wallabies flanker George Smith has retired from international rugby, effective immediately.

    The 29-year-old has gained a release from his Australian Rugby Union contract and the 2010 Super 14 season is expected to be his last at the Brumbies.

    Smith has played 110 Tests and is regarded as one of the finest players to have pulled on the No.7 jumper for the Wallabies.

    He has twice won the John Eales Medal and collected the Brumbies Players' Player award on eight occasions.

    Smith has been under increasing pressure to hold onto a starting spot in the Wallabies lineup following the emergence of young gun David Pocock.

    The Western Force backrower was preferred to Smith for the bigger matches during last year's Spring tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland.

    Smith, who played in the 2003 and 2007 World Cups for Australia, made his international debut in 2000.

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    Awesome talent and the epitome of what all rugby players should aspire to be.

    Sad to see him go, but good luck to him and his family. Never know he could come back next year if his family doesn’t like the culture (wishful thinking on my part)!

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    The timing is typical of George Smith. His farewell will be his last matches for the Brumbies. They can expect (yet another) great S14 season from him as he lets his performances do his talking. Happy trails.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    The slant of that second article does not do the man justice, IMO. I'd bet George Smith's consideration is more likely to have been slanted towards the fact that the openside slot was being left in capable hands rather than getting out before Pocock took his spot.

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    Last edited by shasta; 05-02-10 at 09:50.
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    Veteran zimeric's Avatar
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    dunno why but his retirement has got me kinda mourning..

    this came to mind:

    When can their glory fade?
    O the wild charge they made!
    All the world wondered.
    Honor the charge they made,
    Honor the Light Brigade,
    Noble six hundred.

    Go Well George.. your contribution to this noble sport has not gone unnoticed.. we will remember you fondly... in the mean time be ready for some Western Force PAIN! next week!

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    Not often you get a genuine bolt from the blue, but I certainly didn't see that one coming! At 29 he could have been around for a while yet, but credit to him for doing what he wants - he's sure as hell earned that privilege. Nothing but good wishes from me.

    I would imagine there will be a lot of clubs around the world hatching all manner of schemes and talking urgently with the bank manager. It'll be a busy time in his agent's offices this year.

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    Jeez I thought someone was pulling a leg. Bugger hey. It also mean Julian Salvi will probably come back to the Brumbies which will mean Melbourne will step up their push to lure Dave Pocock.

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    Champion Contributor sandgroperrugby's Avatar
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    Be nice if they (rugby administrators) allowed for him to be farewelled by the crowd at ME with a good round of applause, considering in all likely hood it will be his last game in Perth!

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