Wallabies flanker George Smith will not be retiring until after the 2011 World Cup, but he is hoping to receive an expensive commemorative watch if he wins his 100th test cap today.
Smith will become only the 10th international to make 100 test appearances when he runs out against New Zealand at Eden Park, and he left the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) in no doubt what he would like to mark the milestone.
“I think I’m getting a Rolex from [ARU managing director] John O’Neill,” Smith said with a smile yesterday. “I don’t have one, so it would be nice, so hopefully John is watching.”
The 28-year-old from Sydney’s northern beaches made his debut against France in Paris in 2000 before becoming one of the best No. 7s in the game.
His opposite number today, Richie McCaw, is another of the great exponents of the openside flanker’s art and he was full of praise for Smith ahead of the opening Tri-Nations encounter.
“He’s a fairly smart player and when he gets in and has a crack at the ball or carries the ball he is very effective,” the New Zealand captain said. “He doesn’t make poor decisions and that makes him a pretty classy player.”
Smith will join George Gregan (139), Stephen Larkham (102) and David Campese (101) in the Australian centurion club today.
He is keen to add to the tally, however, and has signed a contract with the ARU until after the 2011 World Cup.
“The decision was made in conjunction with my family and my wife. Their interests were the top of the list,” Smith said.
“[But] staying in Australian rugby has got the stability for me and staying for the 2011 World Cup was a factor,” he said. “I think this team is building towards great things and I definitely want to be a part of that.”
• Sinon Bulls 10,
Uni-President Lions 8
• La New Bears 15,
Brother Elephants 1
• Uni-President Lions v Sinon Bulls
• La New Bears v Brother Elephants