Smith's clearance to tackle Lions in limbo
April 26, 2013
George Smith has made it clear he would like another tilt at the British and Irish Lions © Getty Images
There is increasing pressure on the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) to move quickly to gain a clearance for legendary flanker George Smith to play for the Wallabies against the British and Irish Lions.
Speaking exclusively with Djuro Sen on Seven News, Smith explained how he is keen to take on the Lions across the three Test series in June-July, but the ARU needs the all clear from his Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath.
The 32-year-old is on loan to the Brumbies, but to play for the Wallabies again he needs Robbie Deans to make an official request to Suntory, and the experts say it's a no brainer.
"You know I'd obviously love to be part of the Lions series," Smith told Seven News.
Suntory is still waiting for the ARU to call, but Deans spoke with Smith for the first time since his return to Super Rugby after the Brumbies' draw with Queensland Reds in Brisbane last weekend and he followed that meeting up with a visit to Canberra.
"The chat was fine, like any other chat," Smith said. "I've always had a great relationship with Robbie."
In the interview Smith was also quizzed about leaving Australian rugby in 2010 and speculation of a fallout with Deans that contributed to his departure, but the veteran flanker dismissed the fallout as speculation only.
"I've never had any issues with Robbie," Smith said. "When I did depart in 2010 in was for personal reasons."
Smith has returned in world class form for the Brumbies and after playing a starring role for the Wallabies in 2001, including a man of the match performance in the third and deciding Test in Sydney, he's one player the Lions would fear above all others in the Australian squad.
In extra footage shared with ESPNscrum by Djuro Sen and Seven News, Smith spoke of the rare opportunity granted by Suntory extending the loan so he can stay on with the Brumbies and potentially earn an extra shot at playing for the Wallabies against the Lions.
"It doesn't happen often, and I'm very grateful to Suntory to allow me to pursue this ... the fact that I get to play [instead of a pre-season in Japan] and I'm getting the chance to have a go at another Super title," Smith said.
Suntory has agreed terms for Smith to stay with the Brumbies until the end of the Super Rugby season for supposedly little gain.
"They've been great throughout my time there for the past two seasons ... and they are not getting too much out of this," Smith added.
However, if Smith continues his outstanding form for the Brumbies and earns a fairytale call-up for the Wallabies against the Lions, the profile of that achievement will certainly bring Suntory significant marketing value ahead of the Japanese club season.
© ESPN Australia / New Zealand