Smith returns against Cheetahs

    2013-07-16 09:08

    Canberra - Australia flank George Smith will return to the Brumbies' starting side for Sunday's knock-out playoff against the Cheetahs in Canberra, coach Jake White has said.

    The 111-Test veteran came off the bench for the side's insipid away loss to the Force on Saturday after suffering a big hit in the Wallabies' series-deciding defeat against the British and Irish Lions on July 6.

    White said the 32-year-old would not be eased in again, however, with the Brumbies' hopes of a third title on the line at Canberra Stadium.

    "One hundred percent," White told local reporters on Tuesday. "For me now it's about picking a team that can win the competition.

    "George has all that experience, has played in playoffs and won the competition before.

    "Any bit of advantage we can get going into this knockout stage of the competition is going to be vital."

    Smith, who retired from international rugby in 2010, was a member of the Brumbies' title-winning sides in 2001 and 2004 and has slotted back into his old club this year with aplomb after returning from Japan to take a short-term deal.

    The Brumbies could also be boosted by the return of scrumhalf Nic White, who fractured a shoulder blade last month, and has been knocking on the door of the Wallabies since being named in the squad for June internationals last year.

    "All things being equal he should be ready to go and if he's 90 percent, look this is a playoff game and we've got to pick the best team," White said.

    The winner of Sunday's qualifying final will face either the Pretoria-based Bulls or New Zealand's defending champion Chiefs in the semi-finals.

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