Rugby legend George Smith has confirmed his retirement at the age of 38, bringing an end to a career that spanned two decades and featured 111 test appearances.
“Finally the day has come where I officially announce my retirement from professional rugby,” Smith said in a statement.
“It’s been an absolute privilege to play professionally for the past 20 years. Rugby has provided and given me so much.
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“The dreams that I had of playing rugby professionally as a young bloke, I’m fortunate to say that I’ve lived them and experienced so much more during my time.
“I’m also proud of the opportunities I had to represent the Wallabies on numerous occasions in the past. On reflection, the time spent earning those caps were well worth it.”
He was all but ever-present throughout Jones’s time as Wallabies coach, including in the 2003 World Cup final, and the England coach was thanked in his statement.
George Smith!! The great man retires from rugby. I never thought this day would come… One of the genuine greats that I was fortunate to play with.. He’s one bloke I know will enjoy retirement #Enjoyment pic.twitter.com/r9dqz8l6yw— Matt Giteau 🇦🇺 (@giteau_rugby) May 21, 2019
“Special mention to Eddie Jones, who has been a constant supporter and mentor of mine throughout this time,” he added.
“The day I rocked up to sign my first Brumbies contract with dreadlocked hair, board shorts and thongs. I think back and shake my head as to why he didn’t just turn me away tight there and then. I’m grateful for his advice and friendship.”