George Smith of the Brumbies is tackled during the round eight Super Rugby match between the Brumbies and the Kings at Canberra Stadium on April 5, 2013 in Canberra, Australia.
George Smith of the Brumbies is tackled during the round eight Super Rugby match between the Brumbies and the Kings at Canberra Stadium on April 5, 2013 in Canberra, Australia. Stefan Postles / Getty Images

Smith's Japanese club clear him to keep playing Super Rugby

CHAMPION flanker George Smith has got the chance to win a hat-trick of Super Rugby crowns with the ACT Brumbies after his Japanese club agreed to let him stay for the rest of the season.

Smith, a 110-Test Wallaby veteran, was originally on loan from Suntory Sungoliath only until the end of May.

His extended stint also makes him eligible for Wallabies selection for the series against the British and Irish Lions in June and July.

After making his debut for the Brumbies against the Sharks in 2000, the 32-year-old was in the title winning teams of 2001 and 2004.

Now he's grateful to have one final crack at winning another title.

"This has been a special opportunity for me and my family, to return to the Brumbies for what will probably be the last time," Smith, who will go head-to-head with Reds young gun Liam Gill tonight, said.

"I've already been lucky enough to build a legacy I am proud of with the club, so to be given another chance to add to that is exciting.

"When I arrived I was impressed with the quality of the group in terms of rugby and also personalities. There is enough potential and drive there to achieve something with this team and I'm excited by the chance of being a part of it."

Brumbies coach Jake White said he was pleased to hear Smith had been cleared to remain in Canberra.

Meanwhile, winger Digby Ioane will make his return from injury against the Brumbies as the Reds field their strongest side of the season.

Ioane has recovered from a knee injury and replaces Dom Shipperley in the run-on side with Rod Davies holding his place on the back of a two-try display in last week's 31-23 win over the Chiefs.

It is the first time this season the Reds have sported all their front-line Wallabies together in their starting side.



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