Kiwi signing will benefit Aussies: Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kiwi signing will benefit Aussies: Smith

By Adrian Warren and Jim Morton 06/10/2008 07:13:48 PM Comments (0)

The Wallabies champion openside flanker George Smith has lauded Queensland's historic signing of his All Blacks counterpart Daniel Braid, declaring it could only benefit Australian rugby.

New Zealander Braid on Sunday became the first overseas-born marquee player signed under the ARU's new foreign player policy, which allows the four provinces to sign an international, who is ineligible for Australian selection.

Braid, New Zealand's 2007 Super 14 player of the year and regular backup to All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw, will replace retired Queensland openside stalwart David Croft.

"He (Braid) can only benefit Australian rugby," Smith said at the Sydney hotel base for the Wallabies' second pre-spring tour camp.

"He's played for the All Blacks and at Super 14 level very regularly for the past few years and his experience will definitely be valuable for the Queensland Reds."

"It was a surprise to me, but it's great to hear.

"He'll be able to pass his intellectual property to the Reds players."

Smith's Wallabies and Brumbies forward colleague Mark Chisholm said he had mixed emotions about Braid signing for Queensland.

"I'd like to see the young Australians get a chance at proving themselves at Super 14," Chisholm said.

"But say if for example with Queensland, David Croft is such a high standard player, and there's a really big gap with him leaving their side and Daniel Braid is a great player.

"I'm sure the Kiwi style of rugby would help the Reds out a fair bit, but in saying that, I'd also like to see the young blokes coming through club rugby get a chance.

"I guess the way football is going now, if you've got to compete professionally and you've got to get your record up there as a Super 14 contender, I guess you'll be looking at any way you can."

With the Reds unable to lure Queensland products and Wallabies squad members Richard Brown and David Pocock back home and youngster Tasi Luafutu still learning his craft, they opted to go offshore to replace long serving Croft.

Reds coach Phil Mooney rejected the suggestion Braid's signing would in any way stunt the development of a youngster like Luafutu.

"Not at all and the ARU have got some pretty definite guidelines," Mooney said.

"Number one, we always planned to have Crofty. We were caught unawares when he retired.

"We brought Tasi along at stages this year.

"The reality is there was no one of a frontline Super 14 standard.

"I see some real benefits in that Daniel can pass on his knowledge to young guys in our squad and academy.

"All of our guys are excited that he's signed with us as they have played against him and rate him very highly."

Smith said youngsters like Pocock were bringing enthusiasm into the Wallabies camp and he predicted a bright future for the Force star.

"He's definitely got the ability and he's shown that throughout the Super 14 in the past two seasons," Smith said of Pocock.

"It's good to see he's getting the training and experience at this level and there's bigger and better things ahead for David Pocock."

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