London - Australia great George Smith has
promised his compatriots his time assisting 'old enemy' England is coming to an
The former Wallaby openside, set to appear
for Wasps in their European Champions Cup semi-final against English rivals
Saracens on Saturday, acted as a coaching consultant to compatriot Eddie Jones,
his former Australia boss, during England's victorious Six Nations grand slam
campaign this season.
But the 35-year-old flank, still an active
player, has also been passing on his knowledge at club level where his club
team-mates include England back-row James Haskell and rising star Nathan
Smith, who is set to rejoin Japan's Suntory
Sungoliath on a two-year contract next season, will be in Australia when
compatriot Jones takes England 'Down Under' for a three-Test series with the
Wallabies in June.
But he insisted he would not be a member of
fellow Australian Jones's England backroom staff for the tour.
"Yes I will be in Australia, visiting
family as I've been away for a couple of years, but no I won't be assisting the
English team," said Smith.
"I think they'd take my passport off
me if I did!," added the loose forward, capped 111 times by his country
and a member of the Australia side beaten by England in the 2003 World Cup
final in Sydney.
"It was fantastic to work with the
England squad during the Six Nations.
"I think it was a big leap of faith
from Eddie to allow me to do that, and I really enjoyed the experience.
"The English players are fantastic to
"They had a drive to learn new things
and pick my brain in why I do things out there on the field, and it was a
privilege to be involved in the inner sanctum of an international set-up."
Fiji-born Hughes will qualify for England
on residency grounds in June, too late for the Australia tour.
Saturday's semi-final at Reading's Madejski
Stadium will see Hughes up against current England No 8 Billy Vunipola and
Smith expects his club colleague to be pushing hard for international honours.
"Nathan's an exceptional player and
people have seen him display his abilities over the past couple of
seasons," said Smith.
"Everyone sees that Nathan is Test
calibre, he dominates when he carries the ball.
"There's no doubt he has the ability
to play at that level. Give him the opportunity and he'll take it."