Australian flanker George Smith has announced his retirement after 20-years of playing professional rugby.
The 38-year-old confirmed the decision after his short-term contract with the Bristol Bears expired.
Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle thanked Smith for his time in the game and noted how big a star he was.
“On behalf of the Australian rugby community I extend my congratulations to George on what has been an amazing career. George belongs in that rare category of player that could turn the course of a game in an instant with a crucial turnover, a powerful run or a big defensive play. He was universally respected by his team-mates and opponents and has been a huge presence in the clubs he has represented all over the world, as well as on the international stage with the Wallabies,” he said.
Capped 111 times at international level the Wallaby had spells with Bristol, Wasps, Suntory in Japan, Lyon, Stade Francais, Toulon, the Brumbies and Queensland Reds during his club career.
General manager of the Classic Wallabies and former teammate Justin Harrison acknowledged how good a player he was to play alongside.
“On behalf of the Classic Wallabies I pass on our congratulations to George on his remarkable rugby career. I, like many, had the great privilege of playing alongside George and I knew every time you played with him you knew you were playing alongside one of our greatest players and hairstyles,” he said.
He went on to welcome the legend to the Classic Wallabies team while also taking time to point out the impact Smith had on the game.
“George has inspired a whole generation of Australian rugby supporters to pick up a ball and play the game. We are richer for having had the opportunity to witness George playing in a gold Wallaby jersey. We now welcome George to the Classic Wallabies and we ask that he keeps one pair of boots for his first Classics capped match,” he added.
Smith managed to pick up two Super Rugby titles with the Brumbies along with 164 Super Rugby caps between his time with them and the Reds. Before it all began Smith was at Sydney side Manly where he was signed from by Eddie Jones in 1999 for the Brumbies and Smith remembers the day well as well as being thankful for the chance he was given.
“I’m grateful for his advice and friendship. The day I rocked up to sign my first Brumbies contract with dreadlocked hair, board shorts and thongs [flip-flops], I think back and shake my head as to why he didn’t just turn me away right there and then,” Smith said.
During his 12 years with the club he picked up 10 Players’ Player of the year awards, as well as two Wallabies Players’ Player of the year awards and will be remembered for everything he brought to the game.
Australia A confirm side to face Japan XV
Australia A coach Jason Gilmore has named an imposing side as they prepare to kick-off a three-match series against a Japan XV on October 1 in Tokyo.
Scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan once again will lead the side as they look to build from their second-place finish in the Pacific Nations Cup in July.
Lonergan is joined in the halves by Waratahs flyhalf Ben Donaldson, eager to continue his breakout season, with Gilmore confirming Tane Edmed will likely get a shot in the second Test.
Suliasi Vunivalu will get his chance to shine, selected on the wing in an all-Reds back-three as he partners Filipo Daugunu and Jock Campbell.
Gilmore has kept a relatively settled front-row from their last match against Tonga, with Brumbies hooker Lachlan Lonergan coming in to partner Matt Gibbon and Tom Robertson.
Wallabies Nick Frost and Cadeyrn Neville form an imposing second-row, with Ned Hanigan making his return from injury with Ollie Callan and Langi Gleeson in the back row.
Force centre Bayley Kuenzle will make his first appearance in the Australia A side, partnering Brumby Hudson Creighton.
Exciting Brumbies hooker Billy Pollard headlines the replacements off the bench alongside Archer Holz and Harry Hoopert.
Rebels back-rower Brad Wilkin has been rewarded for a strong season with selection on the bench, with Ryan Smith rounding out the forwards’ reserve.
He is joined by club teammate James Tuttle as well as Reds back Isaac Henry and Mark Nawaqanitawase, who returns from a brief stint with the Sevens.
Gilmore also confirmed Tom Banks will be likely used in some capacity in the second Test, still recovering from a broken arm.
Every game of the Australia A tour of Japan will be streamed live and available on demand on Stan Sport.
Australia A team to play Japan at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday 1 October, 7:00pm JST/8:00pm AEST
1. Matt Gibbon (Melbourne Rebels)
2. Lachlan Lonergan (ACT Brumbies)
3. Tom Robertson (Western Force)
4. Nick Frost (ACT Brumbies)
5. Cadeyrn Neville (ACT Brumbies)
6. Ned Hanigan (NSW Waratahs)
7. Ollie Callan (Western Force)
8. Langi Gleeson (NSW Waratahs)
9. Ryan Lonergan (c) (ACT Brumbies)
10. Ben Donaldson (NSW Waratahs)
11. Filipo Daugunu (Queensland Reds)
12. Bayley Kuenzle (Western Force)
13. Hudson Creighton (ACT Brumbies)
14. Suliasi Vunivalu (Queensland Reds)
15. Jock Campbell (Queensland Reds)
16. Billy Pollard (ACT Brumbies)
17. Harry Hoopert (Queensland Reds)
18. Archer Holz (NSW Waratahs)
19. Ryan Smith (Queensland Reds)
20. Brad Wilkin (Melbourne Rebels)
21. James Tuttle (Melbourne Rebels)
22. Isaac Henry (Queensland Reds)
23. Mark Nawaqanitawase (NSW Waratahs)
Referee Appointments Made For November Internationals
The match day officials for Ireland’s international fixtures in November have been announced by World Rugby and the IRFU High Performance Referees will have a busy month on international duty.
For our teams in green, the RFU’s Adam Leal will take charge of the game between Ireland ‘A’ and the All Blacks XV at the RDS on Friday, 4th November. The following day, Georgian referee Nika Amashukeli has the whistle for the game between Ireland and World Champions South Africa at Aviva Stadium.
South African Jaco Peyper is in charge of Ireland v Fiji and New Zealander Ben O’Keeffe is the man in the middle for Ireland’s final game of the Autumn Nations Series against Australia.
IRFU referee Andrew Brace takes charge of two games during this international window – England v Argentina and France v Japan. Joy Neville, who will have just returned from the Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, is in the TMO hot seat for the France game against the Brave Blossoms.
Frank Murphy in on duty for Scotland against New Zealand at Murrayfield and Chris Busby has the whistle for the French Barbarians against Fiji in Lille. Both Chris Busby and Eoghan Cross are on duty in Dubai for the World Cup Final Qualifier tournament. Chris is refereeing the game between Portugal and Hong Kong with Eoghan in the AR role for that game and the clash between the USA and Kenya.
Friday 4th November, 2022
IRELAND A v All Blacks XV
REF: Adam Leal (RFU), ARs: Luc Ramos (FFR), Benoit Rousselet (FFR)
Saturday 5th November, 2022
IRELAND v South Africa
REF: Nika Amashukeli (GRU), ARs: Mathieu Raynal (FFR), Andrea Piardi (FIR)
Saturday 12th November, 2022
IRELAND v Fiji
REF: Jaco Peyper (SARU), ARs: Tual Trainini (FFR), Jordan Way (RA)
Saturday 19th November, 2022
IRELAND v Australia
REF: Ben O’Keeffe (NZRU), ARs: James Doleman (NZRU), Tual Trainini (FFR)
IRFU High Performance Referee Appointment
England v Argentina
REF: Andrew Brace (IRFU), ARs: Frank Murphy (IRFU), Pierre Brousset (FFR)
USA v Kenya
REF: Tual Trainini (FFR), ARs: Damian Schneider (UAR), Eoghan Cross (IRFU)
Portugal v Hong Kong
REF: Chris Busby (IRFU), ARs: Damian Schneider (UAR), Eoghan Cross (IRFU)
Scotland v New Zealand
REF: Frank Murphy (IRFU), ARs: Andrew Brace (IRFU), Chris Busby (IRFU)
Romania v Samoa
REF: Mathieu Raynal (FFR), ARs: Eoghan Cross (IRFU), Shota Tevadze (IRFU)
French Barbarians v Fiji
REF: Chris Busby (IRFU), ARs: Ben Blain (SARU), Adrien Marbot (FFR)
France v Japan
REF: Andrew Brace (IRFU), ARs: Frank Murphy (IRFU), Christophe Ridley (RFU)
TMO: Joy Neville (IRFU)
England v South Africa
REF: Angus Gardner (RA), ARs: Andrew Brace (IRFU), Pierre Brousset (FFR)
Wales v Australia
REF: Matthew Carley (RFU), ARs: Luke Pearce (RFU), Chris Busby (IRFU)
Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography
Match officials announced for November Internationals
South Africa’s Jaco Peyper has been appointed as referee for two Tests in the traditional November international window after he was given a break during the recently-concluded Castle Lager Rugby Championship.
World Rugby also announced on Monday the names of the match officials for the Springboks’ six matches on their tour of Europe, which includes four Tests and two midweek games.
Peyper will be the man in the middle when France host Australia in Paris on 5 November, and again a week later when Ireland face Fiji in Dublin on 12 November, which will be his 61st Test as referee.
AJ Jacobs has been given assistant referee duties in four Tests over two weekends in Dubai, when Hong Kong, Kenya, USA and Portugal square off in the Final Qualification Tournament for Rugby World Cup 2023 over three match-days consisting of six clashes in total.
Marius Jonker and Marius van der Westhuizen have been appointed as Television Match Officials in five Tests next month.
The referees for the Springboks’ four Tests are Nika Amashukeli from Georgia (against Ireland in Dublin on 5 November), Wayne Barnes of England (against France in Marseille on 12 November), Mike Adamson of Scotland (against Italy in Genoa on 19 November) and Angus Gardner of Australia (against England in London on 26 November).
The Test in Marseilles will mark a special occasion for Barnes, who is back on the international circuit after also getting a break during the Castle Lager Rugby Championship, as it will be his 101st as referee, a new record for match officials.
Karl Dickson of England will referee the midweek match against Munster in Cork on 10 November, and a week later, on 17 November, Adam Jones of Wales will carry the whistle in the clash against the Bristol Bears in Bristol.
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