George Smith: Australia great signs for Wasps

George Smith
Smith joined Lyon from Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath last year

Wasps have signed Australia great George Smith from Lyon for next season.

The flanker, who has won 111 caps for the Wallabies, turns 35 in July.

Smith, who is with the Barbarians for the matches with Ireland and an England XV, will be a "marquee player", whose wages fall outside the salary cap.

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young said: "George Smith is one of the greats of his generation. To be able to add a player of his international experience and quality is a real coup for Wasps."

George Smith facts
Born: 14 July 1980Previous clubs: Brumbies, Toulon, Suntory Sungoliath, Stade Francais, Lyon
Height: 5ft 11in (1.80m); weight: 16st 3lb (104 kg)Australia caps: 111 (9 tries)

Smith won the last of his Australia caps against the Lions in 2013 but is eligible for a return to the Wallabies side after they changed their selection criteria in April to allow overseas-based players who have won at least 60 caps to be picked.

Smith told BBC Sport he had not been in contact with Australia coach Michael Cheika but said the rule change was "great for Australian rugby", before stressing his focus was on "being part of Wasps' pre-season".

He added: "I have always admired their history in Europe and it's clear they are determined to get back to the top of the European game."

England, meanwhile, continue to follow a selection policy that excludes those playing overseas, including Clermont's European Player of the Year Nick Abendanon and 2014 winner Steffon Armitage of Toulon.

Asked about the players available to England coach Stuart Lancaster, Smith said he felt it was "important to have all the best options possible" to compete in a World Cup, "regardless of where they are playing".

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