Smith 'aura' to inspire Wallabies

Fri, 05 Jul 2013 07:46
Large george smith   michael hoop Large george smith warms up Large george smith h s

Will Genia says the Wallabies will be inspired by the return of George Smith for the series-deciding showdown with the B&I Lions in Sydney.

Will Genia says the Wallabies will be inspired by the return of veteran flank George Smith for Saturday's series-deciding showdown with the British and Irish Lions in Sydney.

The influential scrumhalf on Friday described the 32-year-old open-side flank as a "freak" with an aura that will lift the Australians at the Olympic stadium, in their biggest match since the 2003 World Cup final against England.

Coach Robbie Deans opted for the experience of the 110-Test veteran in selecting Smith over Michael Hooper in his only change to the Wallabies' side that levelled the series with a gritty 16-15 win over the Lions in Melbourne last weekend.

Smith, the sole survivor of Australia's series win over the Lions 12 years ago, has recovered faster-than expected from a hamstring injury but has not played a match for six weeks.

Genia, who has been one of the Wallabies' standout performers in this fiercely-fought series, said Smith's presence had lifted the team going into the crunch Test.

"George is a freak. He's come back earlier than expected [from injury] and he looks in great shape. He's running around like he's 21," Genia told a press conference on the eve of the match.

"He's got great enthusiasm, he's got great respect from the guys and great respect from people in the game. He offers so much with his experience, with his ability at the breakdown.

"For a lot of us, he has an aura about him and to have him in your side means a lot and definitely gives me a lift coming into this Test."

Hooker Stephen Moore, a teammate of Smith's at the ACT Brumbies, credited him with evolving his style of play over his career, comparing him to All Blacks skipper and number seven Richie McCaw.

"If you look at those great players, and Richie McCaw is a great example, they've adapted their games throughout their careers, they've added new dimensions to their games," Moore said.

"George is a different player than he was when he last played against the Lions 12 years ago. He's really matured and physically he's always kept himself in great shape and he's a freak in that respect.

"I've never seen him tire in a Test match no matter how much rugby he's played."

Genia said he was confident the Wallabies' best rugby was ahead of them going into the series decider against the Lions.

"We can honestly say we haven't played our best footy throughout the series thus far and probably we've made too many errors to give ourselves an opportunity to play any sort of fast flowing rugby," he said.

"We were able to do that in the last 20-30 minutes in the second Test in Melbourne and the thing is we will take a lot of confidence out of that moving forward.

"I think we have been chasing the game a little bit too much in the last two Tests and playing off the back foot.

"So if we can start well and give ourselves a good opportunity to get into the game then we definitely back ourselves to play some good rugby and really have a go."

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 08h45 Melbourne
Fri, 24 February 2017
Highlanders v Chiefs 06h35 Dunedin
Reds v Sharks 09h00 Brisbane
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 17h45 Twickenham Stoop
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 19h05 Myreside
Dragons v Leinster 19h30 Rodney Parade
Munster v Scarlets 19h35 Thomond Park
Sat, 25 February 2017
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 04h15 Tokyo
Crusaders v Brumbies 06h35 Christchurch
Waratahs v Force 08h45 Allianz Park
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Cheetahs v Lions 13h05 Bloemfontein
Scotland v Wales 14h25 BT Murrayfield
Kings v Jaguares 15h15 Port Elizabeth
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
B&I LIONS
MORE LOGS