Wallabies great George Smith signs two-year deal with Reds

George Smith Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Premiership Rugby

Wallabies great George Smith will return to Super Rugby in 2017, taking up a two-year deal with Queensland Reds.

The 111-Test veteran was set to bring the curtain down on his career with one final season in the Japanese Top League, but he will instead now head to Ballymore to join the Reds' crawl up from obscurity.

Rumours began to circulate on Friday morning that Smith had been searching for a house in Brisbane, before the Reds later confirmed the signing via a press release.

"The body feels great and the experience in England has been outstanding," Smith said. "I'm really looking forward to playing Super Rugby again. I want to make a positive difference wherever I go and I feel I can do this with the Reds."

"My family and I are relocating to Brisbane for the long term and so the opportunity to make a very strong contribution to the Queensland Reds and also the broader Queensland community is something we are really excited about as a family. They are building a really strong playing list and I believe I can make a big impression.

"The Reds have discussed their desire for me to also help mentor some of the young players and to share what I have learnt across my career with the next generation. That is one of the more exciting parts about coming to the Reds. I would like to personally acknowledge and thank Suntory Sungoliath for allowing me to return to Super Rugby and the Reds in between our Top League campaigns and endeavours in Japan."

The 35-year-old back-rower only recently wrapped up a one year stint with Wasps in the Aviva Premiership where he was named the Players' Association Players' Player.

Reds General Manager Daniel Herbert hailed Smith's longevity and professionalism after pulling off one of the biggest signing coups in recent Super Rugby history.

"George is one of the greats of the modern game," Herbert said.

"He is still one of the best number sevens in the world on current form and just took out the Rugby Players Association Players Player award in England and helped lift Wasps to an English Premiership semi-final this season. His uncompromising professionalism has helped him achieve almost every imaginable individual and team accolade the game offers.

"George will be the best possible mentor to our young group and our emerging back-rowers. We're looking forward to what he can offer our program both on and off the field. We are grateful to Suntory Sungoliath for their understanding and support."