George Smith has announced his retirement from international rugby.
The 110-Test veteran will be released from his ARU and Brumbies contract at the end of the Super 14, and plans to take up a contract with an overseas club.
‘The decision to retire from Test rugby has been a very difficult one for me and one that I have made after much consideration and soul searching in recent months,’ said Smith. ‘Although I believe that I could play competitive rugby at the highest level and contribute to the Wallabies for many years to come I know in my heart that this is the right time to step aside.
‘It is largely a decision about the most important people in my life: my family. As many of you would be aware I have a young family with three children under five and I feel that my wife Louise and my family have made a great many sacrifices to allow me to pursue my rugby career over the years.
‘I believe that now is the time for me to give back to my family, to be able to spend more quality time with my wife and young children. It has become increasingly difficult for me to spend large periods of time away from home and my family and this is something that I would like to change.
‘I would also like the opportunity to experience a different environment and culture together as a family unit whilst still playing competitive rugby. I personally feel that I owe this opportunity to my family.’