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Flanker George Smith won 111 caps for Australia and played for Wasps during 2015-16

Bristol Bears have signed former Australia captain George Smith ahead of their return to the Premiership.

The 37-year-old back row joins 2017-18’s second-tier champions on a six-month contract to provide injury cover.

The former Wasps player will arrive from Super Rugby club Queensland Reds.

“It’s fantastic for Bristol Bears to bring in someone of that quality and experience. Someone of George’s reputation is perfect for us,” head coach Pat Lam told BBC Radio Bristol.

“Dan Thomas – who had a phenomenal season last year – took a bad knee injury and is not expected back until about October, possibly November.

“Then, in the last game of the season, we lost Sam Graham, our academy number seven. He’s going to be struggling for the beginning of the season.

“Jake Heenan is recovering and will be coming back from a long-term shoulder injury, and then in November, Jack Lam is going to be tied up with international duty.”

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