Smith to play first Test in four years - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith to play first Test in four years

By Brent Read 20/11/2003 05:16:07 AM Comments (0)

Eleventh-hour Kangaroo Darren Smith will play his first Test in four years after being named in the Australian side for the third and final Ashes clash against Great Britain at Huddersfield's McAlpine Stadium on Saturday night.

The 34-year-old utility played the last of his six Tests in 1999 and was only drafted into the Australian Rugby League squad two weeks ago when Ryan Girdler suffered a tour-ending injury.

He will start on the interchange bench - the only new face as coach Chris Anderson stuck solid with the squad which clinched the Ashes with a 23-20 win over Great Britain last weekend.

Anderson promoted Michael Crocker to the starting side at five-eighth for the injured Craig Gower (calf).

"We had a talk about it and wanted as little disruption as possible," coach Chris Anderson said.

"Our process was we wanted to pick our strongest side. It's a Test match. We wanted our strongest side available and we thought this was the strongest side.

"He (Smith) covers the back row and the centres for us. If we had of picked one of the forwards there would have been no cover for the backs.

"It's tough for the blokes who didn't get a start but we had to go with what we considered was the strongest side."

Smith played this season with St Helens in the English Super League and was ready to return to Australia to saddle up with Brisbane Easts in the Queensland Cup before he was called up by the Kangaroos prior to the first Test.

And Gower's injury has given him the opportunity to farewell this country in style - playing against the Lions in a Test match.

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