Smith making most of limited opportunity - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith making most of limited opportunity

By Darren Walton 20/11/2009 03:24:39 PM Comments (0)

Veteran flanker George Smith says he savours every Test cap he gets after losing the mortgage he had on the No.7 Wallabies jumper for the best part of a decade.

Smith has slipped to No.2 in the openside flanker pecking order behind irrepressible youngster David Pocock, who backed his promotion last Sunday with a man-of-the-match display in Australia's 20-20 draw with Ireland.

Playing without thought of self-preservation, Pocock tackled anything in sight and threw his powerful frame into more rucks than anyone else on the ground at Croke Park.

So impressive was he that Smith was restricted to just a few minutes of action, and that was while Pocock was in the blood bin having nine stitches applied to a facial wound.

Deans seemed set to reward Pocock with another start against Scotland on Saturday before deciding to rest the 21-year-old's battered body ahead of next weekend's potentially tour-defining Test with Wales.

With Pocock out, Smith - the country's most-capped forward and Super 14 player of the year - is keen for his right of reply, not accustomed to be spending so much time warming the bench.

"This tour's been different to what it's been in the past. I've always had the opportunity to play each game," Smith said.

"Last year I missed the Italian Test and was raring to go the next week and this is another opportunity for me to play well and make sure I'm doing everything right for the team and contributing in my way.

"It does feel a little bit different but it definitely gets me very fresh and very excited about the matches that I do play."

The 108-Test stalwart will be looking to follow the example of destructive No.8 Wycliff Palu, who has rediscovered his best form this tour after his own bench stint.

Palu's defence has been devastating at times, his ball carries are up, he's running harder and with repeat efforts.

"I've really aimed to give this tour a good shot after being dropped during the Tri-Nations," Palu said.

"Getting involved in games as early as possible has been a key because I find when I do, everything comes along with it."

Wallabies captain Rocky Elsom, who will reunite Smith and Palu in the back row at Murrayfield, is delighted with the general enthusiasm of the squad, sensing his players are more motivated than ever this tour.

"Rarely is anyone not motivated at all, but you have a long Test season. Sometimes it doesn't happen for whatever reason," Elsom said.

"Guys always find their motivation in different ways but I just feel the energy levels are higher.

"Guys just feel like really ripping in."

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