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Smith retirement fires-up social media

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Tributes paid to 'one of rugby's all-time greats'

After Wallabies legend George Smith announced his retirement from rugby, tributes have poured in on social media from around the world.

The 38-year-old is retiring after having one of the most varied and decorated careers in recent times. He made his Test debut in 2000 and was still going strong 19 years later with the Bristol Bears this season.

However, it is not just the longevity of his career that makes him such a special player, but his expertise. In terms of the greatest flankers this century, if not in history, many would rank the 111-cap Smith up there with Richie McCaw.

Not only did he win Super Rugby twice with the Brumbies during his 12 years with them, but he was the team’s Player of the Year 10 times, as well as being Super Rugby Player of the Year on three occasions.

In recent years, he has moved from club to club across the world, including Toulon, Suntory Sungoliath, Stade Francais, Lyon, Wasps, the Reds and Bristol. However, even then, he earned the RPA’s Players’ Player of the Year in 2015 at Wasps and the Reds Player of the Year in 2017.

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As expected, tributes have flooded in from players and pundits across the game, who would have played with or against him during his career. He has invariably been described as one of the greats of the game, as he has made an impression on all he has shared a field with. This is what has been said:

In Test rugby, Smith was also the youngest player to reach 100 caps in 2009, four days after turning 29. He soon retired from international rugby with 110 caps to his name, before making a comeback in 2013 against the British and Irish Lions. This also meant that he played in both the 2001 and the 2013 Lions series, and has continued playing six years after that.

After retiring at such a young age, questions will always be asked how many caps he could have won for the Wallabies, but there is still no denying the impact that he made on world rugby. He now will move on to a coaching role with his former club Suntory Sungoliath after one of rugby’s greatest careers.

WATCH: Part two of the RugbyPass Legends interview with Wallaby winger Drew Mitchell

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Tributes paid to 'one of rugby's all-time greats'