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Genia hails Smith factor

05th July 2013 07:27

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SKY_MOBILE George Smith

Influential: George Smith

Will Genia says the Wallabies will be inspired by the return of George Smith for Saturday's series-deciding match against the British and Irish Lions.

The influential scrum-half on Friday described the 32-year-old openside flank as a "freak" with an aura that will lift the Australians in this clash.

Coach Robbie Deans opted for the experience of the 110-Test veteran in selecting Smith over Michael Hooper in his only change to the side that tied the series with a 16-15 win over the Lions.

Smith, the sole survivor of Australia's series win over the Lions 12 years ago, has recovered faster than expected from a hamstring injury but has not played a match for six weeks.

Genia, who has been one of Australia's standout performers in this fiercely-fought series, said Smith's presence had lifted the team going into the crunch Test.

"George is a freak. He's come back earlier than expected (from injury) and he looks in great shape. He's running around like he's 21," he told a press conference on the eve of the match.

"He's got great enthusiasm, he's got great respect from the guys and great respect from people in the game. He offers so much with his experience, with his ability at the breakdown.

"For a lot of us, he has an aura about him and to have him in your side means a lot and definitely gives me a lift coming into this Test."

Hooker Stephen Moore, a teammate of Smith's at the Brumbies, credited him with evolving his style of play over his career, comparing him to All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw.

"If you look at those great players, and Richie McCaw is a great example, they've adapted their games throughout their careers, they've added new dimensions to their games," Moore said.

"George is a different player than he was when he last played against the Lions 12 years ago. He's really matured and physically he's always kept himself in great shape and he's a freak in that respect.

"I've never seen him tire in a Test match no matter how much rugby he's played."

Genia said he was confident the Wallabies' best rugby was ahead of them going into the series decider against the Lions.

"We can honestly say we haven't played our best footy throughout the series thus far and probably we've made too many errors to give ourselves an opportunity to play any sort of fast flowing rugby," he said.

"We were able to do that in the last 20-30 minutes in the second Test in Melbourne and the thing is we will take a lot of confidence out of that moving forward.

"I think we have been chasing the game a little bit too much in the last two Tests and playing off the back foot.

"So if we can start well and give ourselves a good opportunity to get into the game then we definitely back ourselves to play some good rugby and really have a go."