Queensland Reds sign former Wallabies breakaway George Smith for two years

The ageless one, George Smith, has officially been unveiled by the Queensland Reds, with the Wallaby signing on the dotted line at Ballymore for the 2017 and 2018 Super Rugby seasons.

In a massive coup for the rebuilding Reds, Smith will be a like-for-like replacement for departing openside Liam Gill, who is heading to France at the end of the season.

At 35, Smith remains in elite form, having just finished with Wasps in the English premiership and taking out the Rugby Players Association Players Player award.

He joins Wallaby captain Stephen Moore as a top-line signing for the Reds next season, while No. 8 Leroy Houston is another prodigal son returning to Queensland. Quade Cooper might not be far away, either.

Smith made his Super Rugby debut back in 2000 and has 142 caps for the Brumbies, as well as some 111 Tests for Australia. He and his family are permanently relocating to Brisbane but he will also juggle stints at Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath.

Reds executive general manager Daniel Herbert said Smith was the perfect addition to the Reds, not just for his still formidable abilities on the park.

“George is one of the greats of the modern game. He is still one of the best No. 7s in the world on current form and just took out the Rugby Players Association Players Player award in England and helped lift Wasps to an English Premiership semi-final this season,” Herbert said.

“His uncompromising professionalism has helped him achieve almost every imaginable individual and team accolade the game offers.

“George will be the best possible mentor to our young group and our emerging back-rowers. We’re looking forward to what he can offer our program both on and off the field. We are grateful to Suntory Sungoliath for their understanding and support.”

Smith said he still felt in terrific shape and believed he had plenty to offer back in Super Rugby.

“The body feels great and the experience in England has been outstanding. I’m really looking forward to playing Super Rugby again. I want to make a positive difference wherever I go and I feel I can do this with the Reds,” Smith said.

“The Reds have discussed their desire for me to also help mentor some of the young players and to share what I have learnt across my career with the next generation.”

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