Smith prepares for new Waugh battlefield - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith prepares for new Waugh battlefield

By David Beniuk 04/06/2009 05:39:27 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies George Smith and Phil Waugh have been battling each other since they were 12 years old, but never like this.

Smith, 28, and Waugh, 29, will renew a rivalry which surfaces every time the Brumbies and Waratahs meet, and whenever an Australian Test side is picked, when the Wallabies face the Barbarians on Saturday night.

And for the first time they will be on opposite sides in an international.

Smith is Australia's undisputed No.1 openside flanker, while Waugh is fighting to be No.2 from the other side as captain of the Baa Baas, having been released from the Wallabies squad to play for the Barbarians.

With the emergence of the Western Force's David Pocock, who has virtually been measured up for the next Wallabies No.7 jersey, Waugh would seem to have a massive point to prove.

The pecking order has been much discussed since 21-year-old Pocock burst on to the scene, but it is something that Smith dismisses outright.

"I see it as the person who performs the best and the person who gives themselves the best opportunity to play is the person who should get the job," Smith told reporters on Thursday.

"It shouldn't be, I guess, ranked. It should be the best performer, the best person contributing to the team and the best fit for the team."

As for his match-up with Waugh, Smith said the Sydney Football Stadium clash would be "like any other game".

"You know what you're going to get with Phil and I, you're going to get guys that play hard at the ball, like to link up with the backs, maybe throw a grubber in there now and again," he said.

"But I don't think that's what the guys are coming to see."

The Australian Rugby Union would probably see it differently, hoping the presence of Waugh, fellow Australians Rocky Elsom and Chris Whitaker and ex-NRL superstar Sonny Bill Williams will sell the "few thousand" tickets left for the season-opener.

"I guess that's going to be interesting," Smith said of Waugh playing against his country.

"I'm not too sure how he's feeling about it but the (back row) boys will play as they always do, pretty hard in the way that they do attack everything in the game."

Fellow back-rower Richard Brown is more certain of what will be driving Waugh.

"He's going to be a handful, he's going to be hard on the ball, he's just going to be a hard man to control the whole game, that's at any game, state or international," he said.

"I think he'll be highly motivated."

Twice-capped Pocock will start off the Wallabies bench on Saturday.

"I think David is a great No.7 ... at the moment," Smith said.

"I see him as a person who will develop into a great player and he is developing now into a good player so he's definitely got a lot ahead of him.

"But in terms of my situation, we're both in the same situation where we're all vying for the No.7 jersey."

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