CA Brumbies flanker George Smith will join a distinguished club this week when he runs on for his 100th Super Rugby appearance against the Cheetahs at Canberra Stadium on Friday night.
The 27-year-old becomes the fifth CA Brumby to reach the milestone, joining George Gregan (136 matches), Stephen Larkham (116), Jeremy Paul (112) and Bill Young (100) as ACT players to achieve the 100 mark.
Smith made his Super 12 debut against the Sharks in 2000, when he replaced Owen Finegan off the bench at Canberra Stadium, and later strung together 66 consecutive appearances between 2000 and 2005. Since making his run-on debut against the Reds in 2000, he has missed just one match when he was ruled out against the Chiefs in 2005 with a chest injury.
Smith, who has stated his desire to remain a “Brumby for life”, says he’s honoured to join the ‘100 Club’.
“It’s a special club,” he said. “The players who have reached 100 games for their club or state have always been very loyal and consistent players.
“There’ve been some great names who have played 100 games with the Brumbies. Guys like George Gregan, Stephen Larkham, Bill Young and Jeremy Paul were exceptional for the Brumbies and it’s very humbling to be considered in that company.
“It’s great to be reaching 100 games this week and hopefully it will be a memorable one.”
Smith currently holds the interim captaincy for the CA Brumbies – in Stirling Mortlock’s absence – and last year became the 75th Australian Test captain when he led the Wallabies to a 37-6 win over Canada in the Rugby World Cup.
He is one of the most decorated players in CA Brumbies history having won the John Eales Medal (2002), six Brett Robinson Awards for CA Brumbies Players Player (2001, 2003-2007), consecutive Australian Super 14 Player of the Year awards (2006-2007) and selection in the starting line-up for the Wallabies’ Team of the Decade (2005).
Head Coach Laurie Fisher says Smith has remained one of the most consistent performers throughout the flanker’s nine-year career with the CA Brumbies.
“Playing 100 Super Rugby matches is an outstanding achievement and one that George thoroughly deserves,” he said. “He’s an extremely durable player who has hardly missed a match in almost nine years of Super Rugby and has consistently remained one of the best performers in this competition.
“Over the past few years he’s taken on a senior leadership role within the Brumbies and Wallabies. He’s been impressive, not only in the way he’s approached this responsibility but in how he’s refused to allow these roles to compromise his on-field performance.
“George has been a fantastic competitor for the Brumbies and I’d like to think all Brumbies supporters will get out to Canberra Stadium on Friday night and help celebrate this terrific achievement.”
Position: Openside flanker
Physical: 1.80m; 103kg
Born: 14.07.1980, Sydney, NSW
Super 14 Caps: 99
Super 14 Points: 75 [15t]
Super 14 Debut: 2000 v Sharks, Canberra
Test Caps: 83
Test Points: 45 [9t]
Test Debut: 2000 v France, Paris