George Smith return to ACT Brumbies unlikely
Wallaby legend George Smith's management has all but ruled out another SOS return to the Brumbies, with champion flanker David Pocock still no closer to learning how long he'll be sidelined by a knee injury.
But while Smith will be advised by manager Lee Abrahams to rest his body rather than consider another possible recall to Super Rugby, the 33-year-old Wallabies veteran is "his own man".
The talk of another Smith return comes after Pocock reinjured his reconstructed left knee in the Brumbies' win over the Western Force on Saturday.
Pocock flew to Brisbane on Tuesday to consult with his knee surgeon Peter Myers but remained none the wiser after further scans again failed to deliver a clear diagnosis.
"The scans were inconclusive so I have to go back and talk to the team doctor and Peter Myers, and obviously talk to the coaches about a way forwards, but at this stage I'm not really sure," Pocock told Fox Sports on Wednesday.
Cue talk of another Smith comeback.
Having seemingly retired from Australian rugby in 2010, Smith was sensational for the Brumbies in 2013 following the round three season ending knee injury to Pocock.
Not only did the No.7 prove he was still one of the best players in Super Rugby by helping take the ACT franchise to the grand final - but he got a Wallabies call-up against the British and Irish Lions in the process.
The 111-test ball thief king returns to Australia next week after wrapping up duties in Japan with Suntory Sungoliath.
He intends to take a hard-earned break with his family until May - roughly the same amount of time it could take for Pocock to recover in a best-case scenario - before flying to France to join division two club Lyon on a two-year deal.
However, with Ita Vaea still recovering from a heart condition, the Brumbies have one free roster spot available - and Smith has previously stated he'd never say never to a future Brumbies SOS.
Yet despite the stars seemingly aligning, Abrahams says if contacted by the Brumbies, he'll advise Smith to give his body a much-needed break following three to four seasons of back-to-back rugby.
"George needs a rest, he's never had a proper break," Abrahams said.
"He's just very lucky to have one of those robust bodies that never gets really injured - he's a freak."
Yet Abrahams also left the door ajar.
"If he was phoned by Stephen Larkham or Laurie Fisher, George being George, he'd always pick up," Abrahams said.
"We work with George, we don't tell him what to do.
"It's something we wouldn't advise him to do, but you can never rule anything out with George Smith."
The Brumbies won't hypothesise on possible replacements for Pocock until they get a clearer picture from the scans.
In the meantime, it's expected they'll throw former Reds backrower Jarrad Butler into the No.7 jersey for Friday's clash against the Hurricanes in Wellington.