Smith closes in on rare rugby milestone - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith closes in on rare rugby milestone

By Darren Walton 28/06/2009 01:30:40 PM Comments (0)

George Smith's Wallabies teammates are in awe of the champion flanker's unrelenting excellence as he closes in on yet another rare rugby milestone.

Smith, a four-time Australian Super 14 player of the season and the only two-time John Eales Medallist as the Wallabies' best player, marked his record-equalling 11th Test appearance against France on Saturday night with man-of-the-match honours in the 22-6 victory at ANZ Stadium.

Turning 29 next month, Smith is now poised to join legendary trio George Gregan (139), Stephen Larkham (102) and David Campese (101) as only the fourth Australian to rack up a century of Tests when the Wallabies tackle the All Blacks in the Tri Nations and Bledisloe Cup series opener in Auckland on July 18.

Wallabies centre Berrick Barnes says Smith's incredible ball pilfering and longevity is something to behold.

"I suppose you don't realise how good George is until you play with him," Barnes said on Sunday.

"You'll see him get his head in there and somehow he comes out with the ball. I don't know how he does it because I know when I put my head down there, I get knocked bloody 10 feet back.

"So he is an absolute freak in what he has done and achieved and it's just great he's going to get to play his 100th Test in a couple of weeks because it's well deserved."

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans hailed the Brumbies breakaway as "remarkable" and also marvelled at Smith's ability to keep on keeping on at rugby's highest level.

"He's a special player," Deans said.

"He's played 99 Tests, but you wouldn't think so watching him. You'd think it was his first in terms of the enthusiasm that he brings to it.

"He's a great man. He loves the game and that shows. He just loves to play - and the boys love playing with him."

Although the Wallabies have three weeks off before facing the All Blacks, Deans wasn't surprised to hear Smith put his hand up to play Sydney club rugby for Manly in the interim.

Deans won't stand in the way and only hopes his star No.7 is able to back up for his country at Eden Park to confirm his membership in the 100-club.

"Obviously it's a special occasion. It's a unique occasion. It's one that doesn't come around very often," Deans said.

"It's something George will be hugely proud of. If not at the moment, which I'm sure he is, but certainly he will reflect in time what a significant achievement it is because it is a remarkable effort."

The humble backrower acknowledged as much.

"It will be a special time for me and my family and also the players I've played alongside throughout those 99 Tests," Smith said.

"Not many people get to reach that and, when I do get the chance, it will be something special."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news