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I'd never turn my back on Wallabies: Smith

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/05/2017 Vince Rugari

Wallabies great George Smith says he will never turn his back on a Test recall if coach Michael Cheika comes knocking.

But the 36-year-old doesn't want it to come at the expense of current internationals like Michael Hooper and Sean McMahon.

Openside flanker Smith has not played for Australia since the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour but his form this season for the Queensland Reds has been so good it has prompted talk of a call-up for June's three-Test home series.

He said last year he had "no desire" to add to his 111 caps but appears to have softened his stance.

"I would never refuse one, if it was under the right circumstances," Smith told reporters on Monday.

"But at the same time, if he's there to develop players within my position, I'd prefer he picked those players because they deserve the opportunity.

"If it was a Steven Bradbury, everyone fell down (with injury), I'd be happy to put on the jersey again."

Smith said he would also be happy to help out the Wallabies in camp - as he did for Eddie Jones' England last year as an informal breakdown coach - but had not been contacted by Cheika to discuss either a playing or coaching return.

His contract with Suntory Sungoliath in the Japanese Top League, which begins in August, means he would only be available to play Test rugby in next month's clashes against Fiji, Scotland and Italy.

Meanwhile, Smith urged McMahon to carefully consider his next move amid talk he will leave Super Rugby for Japan, regardless of whether the Melbourne Rebels live on next year.

McMahon, who is reportedly unhappy with how he has been treated by the Australian Rugby Union in terms of Test opportunities and contract offers, refused to comment on the matter on Sunday but it's understood he has all but made up his mind.

That would make the 22-year-old workhorse unavailable for Wallabies selection until 2019.

"It's always a shame to lose any national player," Smith said.

"First time I came up against (McMahon), he steamrolled me in the game against the Rebels.

"I'd implore him to see what's best for him as a player. He knows what his strengths are and if he feels (the best thing) to better himself as a player is to go overseas, then do that.

"But it's ultimately up to him.

"I always encourage players to broaden their horizons and go and play in different countries because it does make you a better player.

"(But I left) because I had longevity in the game here in Australia."

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