Smith inks new deal as World Cup looms - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith inks new deal as World Cup looms

08/05/2009 05:18:42 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies flanker George Smith says the lure of playing at the next World Cup was a chief factor in his decision pen a new deal that will keep him in Australia for another two years.

The 28-year-old turned down more lucrative offers to play in Europe to re-sign with the Australian Rugby Union and Brumbies until 2011.

With 118 games for the Brumbies under his belt, the decision means Smith will now almost certainly eclipse George Gregan (136) as the side's most capped player in Super rugby.

Smith, who has played 96 Tests, will also likely become the Wallabies' second most capped player. He is currently fourth behind Gregan (139), Stephen Larkham (102) and David Campese (100).

"The opportunity to play at another World Cup was a huge motivation," Smith said.

"I had to make sure I was making the right decision and weighing up all the options in the right way, and in the end the lifestyle and I guess the coaching structure and the opportunity to play in the 2011 World Cup were the big factors."

Smith, who fielded numerous offers from cashed-up clubs in France and the United Kingdom, said money was not the deciding factor.

"In my thinking it wasn't a financial decision, it was more about having the complete package, and staying here for the next two years has that for me."

"I think the opportunity to play in the Wallaby jersey a bit longer for myself had a lot more appeal than money."

He said the return of Wallabies No.10 Matt Giteau to the Brumbies next year also helped sway his decision.

"Recruiting Gits back to the Brumbies was crucial. He's a world class player ... and him coming over here was definitely a factor.

"But also the coaching staff. I think that the direction that they're taking definitely helped in my decision-making as well."

"With the players that we are recruiting at the moment I think that we will have future success."

Smith has won two Super titles with the Brumbies, in 2001 and 2004, and has been named Australian Super 14 player of the year for three years running (2006-2008).

In 2005 he was selected in the Wallaby team of the decade.

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