Rugby

Smith says end to England aid in sight

2016-04-22 10:17
George Smith (Getty)

London - Australia great George Smith has promised his compatriots his time assisting 'old enemy' England is coming to an end.

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 Hughes.

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 work with.

"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."

Read more on:    george smith  |  rugby
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Springbok coach Allister Coetzee remains defiant, saying he won't resign despite a shambolic two years at the helm. Your thoughts?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.