George Smith closing in on Australia recall for British and Irish Lions series
Last Updated: 01/05/13 5:43am
George Smith: Has been in sensational form for the Brumbies
Australia coach Robbie Deans admits he is hoping to have flanker George Smith available for the series against the British and Irish Lions.
Smith is technically ineligible to play for the Wallabies as he is contracted to Japanese club Suntory.
However the 32-year-old has been in sensational form on loan at the Brumbies this season - and with David Pocock having been sidelined with a knee injury, Deans is keen to call up the 110-Test veteran.
When asked by Sportal for an update on Smith's availability, Deans replied: "Talks are underway, we've just got to get the final clearance."
The coach then revealed he placed a call to an ARU official before addressing the media to respond to the Lions squad which was named on Tuesday.
Deans pulled out his phone mid-sentence and read the reply from the unnamed official: "Here we go, 'All on track, just nutting out some of the details'," Deans read.
"There you go, straight off the press.
"He's keen so there should be no impediments but just dealing with Suntory there's processes you've got to follow and they're very traditional to that end."
16 years of Lions hurt
Smith won his last cap against Wales in November 2009, with the back rower opting to quit the national team soon after.
Smith had a 12-month spell at Toulon before joining Suntory in 2011 on a three-year deal.
And Deans admits he was disappointed by Smith's decision to quit international rugby.
"He's just class, and he's just built for it really," Deans said.
"When David Pocock turned up and we had the two of them I was really hopeful we were going to have them side by side, which would have been great for both of them because they'd both drive each other, but also give them respite because it's an area where there is a high attrition rate.
"But obviously at the time it was an understandable decision from George with a young family and four young kids and he wasn't seeing a lot of them with all the travel in the southern hemisphere.
"It worked out well for him and he's been lucky enough, it would appear, to come back and get a rare plum as well in a Lions series, so it's worked out well."
Watch the every Lions game live and exclusive only on Sky Sports. To sign up or upgrade click here