George Smith: Ex-Australia captain retires after ending career at Bristol

George Smith
After a four-year absence from the Australia team, George Smith was recalled to play his final test against the British and Irish Lions in 2013

Former Australia captain George Smith has announced his retirement from professional rugby at the age of 38.

The flanker is the second most-capped Australian forward of all time, having played 111 times for the Wallabies.

Smith revealed his decision as his short-term contract with English Premiership side Bristol Bears ended.

"George belongs in that rare category of player that could turn a game in an instant," said Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle.

"He was universally respected by his team-mates and opponents and has been a huge presence in the clubs he has represented all over the world, as well as on the international stage with the Wallabies."

Smith spent most of his club career with the ACT Brumbies and was twice named Australia's player of the year.

He also played in Japan and France, and had two spells in England with Wasps (2015-16) and Bristol (2018-19).

He won two Super Rugby titles in 12 seasons with the Brumbies, making his Test debut against France in November 2000.

Current England coach Eddie Jones signed Smith for the Brumbies after spotting him playing for Sydney club Manly in 1999, and Smith was a regular during Jones' tenure as Australia coach.

"I'm grateful for his advice and friendship," Smith said in a statement.

"The day I rocked up to sign my first Brumbies contract with dreadlocked hair, board shorts and thongs [flip-flops], I think back and shake my head as to why he didn't just turn me away right there and then."

Former Wallabies and Brumbies team-mate Justin Harrison said Smith "inspired a whole generation of Australian rugby supporters" to play the game.

He added: "We are richer for having had the opportunity to witness George playing in a gold Wallaby jersey."

Top Stories