Super Rugby: Veteran George Smith bows out having "loved every moment"
Australian veteran George Smith bid a fond farewell to Super Rugby on Saturday with no regrets despite losing the final.
Last Updated: 03/08/13 1:59pm
The flanker left the Waikato Stadium saying "I've had a great time" after the Brumbies faded in the closing quarter of the Super Rugby final as the Chiefs triumphed 27-22 to claim a second title in as many years.
The 33-year-old forward was a member of the Brumbies side which won the 2001 and 2004 Super Rugby crowns before he made moves to France and Japan, where he expected to end his career.
However, a season-ending injury to Ita Vaea left Brumbies boss Jake White in dire straits which meant Smith was soon back in Canberra and has enjoyed a sensational season which saw him recalled to the Wallabies squad for the third Test against the British and Irish Lions.
"It's been amazing. I've absolutely loved every moment playing with the Brumbies and the one-off chance to play with the Wallabies," the 111-cap veteran said.
"I've always regarded the Brumbies as family. I felt at home when I did arrive back and I'm very grateful for the Brumbies fans and the Brumbies organisation for welcoming me. I've had a great time."
Victory in the Super Rugby final would have been the perfect way to end Smith's career, which White believes characterises the ethos of the Brumbies.
"He's phenomenal. It wasn't the way we wanted to say goodbye to him, we wanted to give him the trophy," he said.
"He epitomises what Brumbies rugby is all about. He wants to be a Brumbie. He's played for the Brumbies.
"He came back and wanted to add value and we are obviously very grateful for the contributions he has made."