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Alas Smith and moans - Dai Young laments imminent exit of playmaker George

Published 03/04/2016

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young does not want to see the back of George Smith, pictured.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young does not want to see the back of George Smith, pictured.

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young lamented George Smith's inevitable departure from the Aviva Premiership after watching Northampton unravel at the hands of the Australian.

Smith displayed his playmaking prowess by using footwork and guile to create two tries for man of the match Rob Miller in Sunday's 28-6 victory over play-off rivals Northampton.

The 35-year-old openside, who gave England breakdown coaching during the RBS 6 Nations, is nearing the end of his one-year contract at the Ricoh Arena and has resolved to complete the final instalment of his celebrated career in Japanese club rugby.

His stellar performances have marked him out as a leading contender for Premiership player of the season and Young views him as one of the league's finest imports.

"There's not really any way we could stop George leaving. We'd love to keep him," Young said.

"When he came we knew it would only be for one year. He's been excellent for us and for the Premiership as well.

"You want these types of players in the Premiership and thankfully he's playing for us.

"Everybody is enjoying watching a player of his quality. He's got to be up there for Premiership player of the season.

"It's the unseen stuff that he's given us around the club, not just what you see on the pitch.

"He's so professional in the way he prepares. He's approachable and tries to help everybody. He's a role model for any player."

Smith and Miller combined to provide a low-quality showdown at the Ricoh Arena with two moments to savour as Wasps continued their pursuit of securing home advantage in the play-offs.

The Coventry-based club, who added a third try through Jamie Stevenson in the closing seconds, face Exeter in the Champions Cup quarter-finals on Saturday and Young knows they must improve if they are to defeat the Chiefs.

"We didn't play anywhere near our best and have played a lot better this season. We were edgy and snapped at things," Young said.

"Of course we're happy with the win, but it's tinged with frustration over the way we played.

"We realise that this performance will not be good enough against Exeter. There are lots of things for us to work on and get right."

Northampton continued to be blighted by a spate of concussions with scrum-half Lee Dickson and prop Kieran Brookes the latest to suffer.

Both players saw their afternoon ended by head knocks and had to be helped from the pitch, joining a list of absentees including their fellow England internationals Dylan Hartley and Luther Burrell.

Director of rugby Jim Mallinder believes the citing officer will be interested in the incident that saw Dickson wobble off after a collision with Elliot Daly.

"I think we will be looking at it. I think Lee got the ball away and then tackled. We need to look at that," Mallinder said.

"Lee and Kieran are up and about. We will have to go through the protocols and hopefully they won't have any symptoms.

"I can't remember a period when we have had so many concussions, but I guess that is what happens. We will have to battle on.

"Dylan's getting better. We are not sure when he will return, but hopefully we will get him doing some exercise this week."

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