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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

George Smith knocked out by Richard Hibbard on Wallaby return

Wallaby legend George Smith has played his final game for his country, but it didn't go entirely to plan as he was knocked out just minutes into the deciding Test against the Lions. He somehow returned to the field, but was less effective than planned.

Smith, who turns 33 this coming Sunday, made his return to Wallaby colours after a four year absence, last having played Test rugby in 2009 against Wales. It was anything but a fairytale return however, with the Lions thumping the Wallabies 41-16 to take the series.

With the Wallabies missing the services of key man David Pocock, Smith was a surprise selection, replacing up and coming flanker Michael Hooper.

As with the first Test against the Lions, a knockout blow early on affected Robbie Deans' plans. This time it was Smith who went off after an awful head clash with Hooker Richard Hibbard.

"It obviously affected me. You saw me snake dancing off the field. I passed the (concussion) tests that were required within those five minutes and I got out there.

"But the impact that I envisioned before the game, coming out to do it, didn’t eventuate. That’s my role to disrupt play within that breakdown area. I don't think I did that well enough," he said.

Having played rugby in France and Japan, Smith has been with the Brumbies more recently, but his selection drew raised eyebrows. If he hadn't been knocked out, you can be sure he'd have played a bigger role, but he says it was one of the most disappointing games he's been a part of.

"I’ve been disappointed with losses, there's no doubt about that. But because it was such a big game and a big score as well, I’m disappointed.

"I've had a great career. I'm very fortunate to have been considered for this series as well. I think it’s time for the young guys and the guys who have been working hard within Australian rugby to have a chance," added Smith, who will now focus on Super Rugby with the Brumbies.

Coach Robbie Deans, who was sacked earlier this week, heaped praise on Smith for a great career.

"Obviously it's not the way he would have liked to have finished, but it was tremendous that he could get a send-off in Australia. He's a great player. He deserves the respect that he's got."

Below is a quick look at the knockout blow, and Smith's courageous return to the field.

Posted at 9:36 am | 30 comments

George Smith's rib breaking tackle on Andy Ellis

George Smith hit hard twice in 30 seconds

Incredible skill by Wallaby George Smith in 2004

Posted in British & Irish Lions 2013

Viewing 30 comments

Murina July 10, 2013 1:33 pm

Legend though he is, this wasn't a great move. Deans had to show confidence in his youth, or at least his current stable of back rowers, and to go and grab someone (however good) from the past will only undermine feelings of confidence. Hooper may be over-hyped, but I would have started him and made a show of faith.

An unnecessary and inglorious postscript to an amazing career.

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macmurchu July 10, 2013 2:11 pm

This is why I love rugby and hate soccer

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Guy July 10, 2013 2:41 pm

So much to say about this video:
- how hard is Hibbards head...
- Smith must be one of the thoughest blokes out there...
- but most of all: how the hell did he pass the concussion test????????
I think players should be protected against themselves even better than they are now.

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jjk13 July 10, 2013 3:07 pm

I'm trying to find information on the "HEAD BIN" Law trial. I can't find it anywhere on IRB.com Website or IRBLaws.com.
Has anyone seen an official description of the trial anywhere?

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Colombes July 10, 2013 3:14 pm

unfortunate incident for Smith,
it surely handicaped him for the rest of the match, but i really wonder if he should have continue. What are the concussion test questions?

on a side note, quick and right reaction of romain poite

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bnations July 10, 2013 5:14 pm

I think that the questions went something along the line of ...

Doc: Now, what's your name, son?
Player: Uh, Geoff?
Doc: Starts with a 'G', close 'enuf

Doc: What year is it?
Player: 2001, of course. The Lions are here.
Doc: Close 'enuf. Back you go!

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Ruggerlad July 10, 2013 3:33 pm

Great reaction from AWJ to inform the ref, and Dr Robson and team sprinting on to help the player. That is why rugby is such a glorious game, concern for injured players regardless of the team they are playing on.

Did anyone else notice the cheeky shove Dr. Robson gave to AWJ to get out of the way?!

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ollie July 10, 2013 4:11 pm

Agreed - class reaction. He also didn't move from under Smith until sure that it was safe to do so (when smacked away by Robson). Good man and what a great day as captain.

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browner July 11, 2013 12:03 pm

Yes, Perhaps Dr Robson was showing him how to clear the tackle area quickly, just in case Horwill's boots come 'unbalancing' towards him again !!!

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Herman Munster July 10, 2013 3:38 pm

Concussion Test for massive games are as follows, named the Rocky Balboa concussion test.

"How many fingers am I holding up" (*holding up one*).
Smith: "3?"
Right, hit the one in the middle.

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Vorago July 10, 2013 4:49 pm

Hibbard got wrecked as well. He collapsed later on in a scrum and was totally absent when he was sitting on the sideline after he was replaced.

Can't be healthy in the long term...

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bnations July 10, 2013 5:16 pm

I noticed that during the game but couldn't see what happened. Even later with the rewind button, the only thing that was apparent was the he lost his early in the scrum. It was a strange sight to see him topple over as the scrum ended.

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bnations July 10, 2013 5:16 pm

lost his *bind* early in the scrum

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browner July 11, 2013 12:04 pm

Wow - i'd missed that, clear co-ordination failure issues.

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Canadian content July 11, 2013 1:38 pm

Wow that's disturbing. I've noticed hibbard really throws himself around and am not surprised. I believe what happened in the scrum was that he got his carotid artery pinched, cut off the flow of blood to the brain temporarily and lost consciousness. Not good.

Smith returning to the field was reprehensible and looked bad on rugby.

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Hendogo July 10, 2013 9:47 pm

He shouldn't been allowed to return to the field. Having a real big problem in Pro American Football with head knocks of late. One ex player committed suicide link to all the concussions he had. Player safety should be above the game.

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PiratesRugby July 11, 2013 1:50 am

As a Wallabies fan I was shocked to see George go down. He was brought back to Super Rugby as back up for Pocock at the Brumbies. When Pocock went down with a season ending knee injury George Smith stepped in and was a dominant 7 in the Super comp. He was picked in the Wallabies squad for the Lions series but suffered his own knee problems shortly before the series commenced and missed the first two tests. There was some hope that he could play in the second but it didn't happen.
Hooper is a very busy player but was really dominated at the breakdown by Warburton and others in the second test.
As shocked as I was to see him go down, I was actually a bit angry to see him come back. We all know how brave he is but he was just knocked out. If he was a boxer, he would have been counted out. He couldn't get up off the mat. Then he's running around 5 minutes later. I'm sure the medical people were conscientious and thorough but it still just seemed so obviously wrong.
Fair play to Hibberd and Jones who showed concern for an injured player and to the ref for getting the priorities right.
Better days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXLYBa5YIqw

View Video

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matt July 16, 2013 3:37 pm

Great performance from the pair of them, but IMO at least half of those turnovers were quite illegal, I think they got away with a lot that day

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Rolf Oosterhuis July 11, 2013 8:54 am

When you read the statement of Smith, i think he should be wise & proffesional enough to say 'hey, i'm not 100%, get a sub in!'.... At this level you need to be at a 100% level to be able to compete. Also they should keep in mind the long term effects of concussions. In the NFL you see al lot of problems surfacing about this problem.....

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DrG July 11, 2013 10:28 am

Whilst I agree, and in this case Smith is pretty much retired, I think some players may worry that it could affect their ratings. A spot gets taken up by you and you don't fill it for more than 10 minutes, so they might worry the coach wouldn't pick them next time/might not be thinking too clearly etc.

Not to mention many players, flankers especially, are the ones that will put everything on the line, try and make the tackle even near death etc, so it's probably not in his mentality to "give up". We all would understand he wasn't giving up, but at the time he might feel like that...

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DrG July 11, 2013 10:36 am

Like everyone else, I was shocked to see him come back on. The clash was just nasty. I like to see a bruising encounter, but that semi turned my stomach. It was horrible to see him leave the field, he looked like a lost old man.

I can't see how this didn't result in a concussion? Is it possible? Getting knocked out is brain trauma, so surely that has to amount to something in the longer term?? As I understand it, it is a team of independent docs that do the once over of a player, so there is no bias, it's all very odd though..

That clip of Hibbard someone posted up was pretty nasty too, looks like he can't even clap his hands properly.

All in all, a bad day at the office for Hibbard and Smith. As others said, great awareness from referee and other players!

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matt July 16, 2013 3:32 pm

When he left the pitch it looked like he'd been drinking from Beale's water bottle. I can't understand how that wasn't a concussion

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browner July 11, 2013 12:11 pm

What are these "Tests" ............. the Sports Governors are sending the wrong message ............ heed this http://www.canada.com/sports/School+board+launches+review+after+rugby+player+dies+after+head+injury/8376953/story.html

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Guy July 11, 2013 6:31 pm

Very sad story indeed. And exactly why we all should be worried about player welfare, at every level the game is being played.

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Mastersa July 11, 2013 3:38 pm

Big Smith fan and its a shame this stuffed his last international game, but he should not have been let back onto the park for his own safety. Its already medically proven that multiple concussions can have long term effects on players. If boxing has taught us nothing else, its that.
With the big hits and increasing game time the players must endure, I really worry about the long term issues our heroes will suffer when older. For me, the concussion rule is wrong and the IRB should be looking after players welfare much better than this.
Seeing Hibbard on sidelines--cringe. Its only a matter of time before something very public and bad happens. I'd rather not see this happen before rule changes are made.

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4LC4TR4Z July 11, 2013 4:12 pm

I've seen a lot of rugby stars in Toulon, Monsieur George Smith is clearly one of the greatest player ever, and outside the field one of the classiest rugbymen of his generation.

An equal to Merthens, Gregan or Umaga to me.

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browner September 07, 2013 10:09 am

Merthens......!? UMAGA..... !!!!!!! Classy rugby players don't intentionally injure opponents (BoD)

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Dan October 10, 2014 10:27 am

him coming back on was one of the most epic moments ever.

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