Australia flanker George Smith available for deciding Test against Lions
Australia flanker George Smith has been passed fit for the deciding Test against the British and Irish Lions.
Last Updated: 03/07/13 7:45am
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans confirmed the 110-cap openside is available for selection after recovering from a knee injury that was expected to rule him out of the series.
The 32-year-old suffered the injury on the eve of Deans' initial squad announcement prior to the series, but his recovery was quicker than anticipated and he was called into the home squad for the second Test.
Smith was not considered for the clash in Melbourne, but he has taken a full part in training and has been given the all clear to feature in Sydney on Saturday.
"He's had a week of training under his belt, he's had some background with us and yes, he is physically fit enough to be able to be considered," said Deans.
"We've talked about what George brings previously, it's good to have him in the group. Even last week when he wasn't preparing to play, he offers good value."
Smith is likely to provide cover on the bench for Michael Hooper, who impressed in the openside role in both Tests, while Liam Gill has also performed well as a replacement.
Deans also admitted the battle of the breakdown could be a deciding factor in Sydney, adding: "The Lions responded to our performance in the first one and they really targeted, particularly the wide breakdowns and put us under a lot of pressure
"We've got to be better."
Lions captain Sam Warburton was particularly dominant at the breakdown in Melbourne, but he has been ruled out of the decider due to a hamstring injury.
Justin Tipuric and Sean O'Brien are the top options to replace Warburton, and Deans added: "They've got quality options and it doesn't matter who they choose, they've got some very good, able replacements."