Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Rugby: Aussies to unleash evergreen Smith on Lions

The remarkable George Smith will start his 111th and final test for the Wallabies in Saturday's series-deciding test against the Lions.

Smith was not ready for the middle test in Melbourne after a recent knee injury, according to the Wallaby staff. However, after a rethink, coach Robbie Deans has gone for the talismanic flanker in this high stakes international.

The team will be revealed today but the Daily Telegraph was certain that the 33-year-old Smith would be recalled to the side after a three-year absence playing in Japan.

It will be the first time a Wallaby has played successive series against the Lions after Smith played in the deciding test between the teams in 2001.

Brian O'Driscoll is the other survivor from that series but he was dropped from this weekend's selection to allow the Welsh midfield partnership of Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies to be used.

Smith is expected to start ahead of Michael Hooper who will drop to the bench with Liam Gill missing out of the match squad.

The other change will be the inclusion of Ben McCalman, who has been out of test rugby since 2011.

- NZ Herald

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