GEORGE Smith’s latest milestone means more to him than most because it is the greatest reflection of his astonishing staying power.
Becoming just the third Australian to play 150 Super Rugby games will lift him into an exclusive club with former Wallaby teammates Stephen Moore (171) and Nathan Sharpe (162).
“This one resonates with me a fair bit because it shows the longevity of my career and it’s pretty special to share with Sharpie and Squeak (Moore), two good mates” Smith said.
Smith, 36, has racked up these numbers even when missing five seasons while playing abroad which puts a twist on Crusader Wyatt Crockett’s new record (176) on Friday night.
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Smith is a winner and for the bulk of his 17-year career he has helped shape winning teams which means just one result can be a true celebration today with the Queensland Reds.
Beating the Southern Kings at Suncorp Stadium would end a six-game losing streak so it doesn’t tick over into his worst run since the Wallabies lost seven in a row to end 2005.
“I won’t lie, it is foreign to me, especially because I haven’t had many losses with Wasps (England) or Suntory (Japan) in my most recent seasons,” Smith said.
“I’ve been learning a lot through this period, not just personally but seeing the interaction of players and how guys get up for games.
“There is resilience there and players who want to do much better because we all know lapses in games have cost us dearly.”
As ever, Smith is refreshingly straightforward.
“We have not produced a complete game yet and it’s on us to perform really well against the Kings,” Smith said.
“All the criticism we have received is warranted when you lose six games in a row.
“Some areas we fell down on were pretty embarrassing against the Brumbies (when 55 tackles were missed in a 43-10 loss) but the measure of this team is the response this week.”
Opta Stats has provided a fascinating comparison that Smith is as effective as he was in his last season with the Brumbies in 2013.
For the Reds, he’s averaging the same number of ball carries (eight), gaining a few more metres (18 to 15), still winning more than a turnover per game and is again tackling with a success rate above 85 per cent.
Originally published as Smith notches another incredible milestone
SOURCE: newsnow sport