Rugby: Smith in reckoning for Wallaby recall

Michael Foley. Photo / Getty Images
Michael Foley. Photo / Getty Images

Former Wallabies hooker Michael Foley says veteran flanker George Smith remains one of the best No7s in world rugby and deserves to be picked for the upcoming series against the Lions.

Smith has made a huge impact for the Brumbies this season, with his skill and ferocity at the breakdown proving he has lost none of the qualities that earned him 110 tests for the Wallabies and two John Eales medals.

Western Force coach Foley knows all too well about Smith's match-winning abilities, having been an assistant at the Wallabies between 2006-08 when Smith was at the peak of his powers.

Wallaby David Pocock, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last month, and All Black Richie McCaw are considered the best two openside flankers in world rugby.

Foley said Smith, 32, who had been plying his trade in France and Japan since 2010 before rejoining the Brumbies on a loan deal, deserved to be bracketed with the influential duo.

"George Smith in my mind is still probably one of the top two No7s in world rugby," Foley said.

"His current form and the type of player he is puts him right at the top of the tree."

Although fellow flankers Michael Hooper and Liam Gill remain in impressive touch, Foley said Smith's vast experience would prove to be a supreme asset against the Lions.

"Test match rugby is all about making the right decisions consistently throughout the game," Foley said. "The difference between a test match player and a provincial player is not necessarily skill; it's mental."

Smith remains under contract with Suntory, and would need clearance from the Japanese club in order to play in the Lions series. He has already been granted permission to play out the season for the ladder-leading Brumbies, and said he wouldn't refuse the chance to line up for the Wallabies again.

- AAP

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