17 Jan 2018

Former Wallaby reportedly arrested in Japan

7:58 pm on 17 January 2018

Former Wallaby George Smith has been arrested in Japan, according to his Japanese rugby team's owner Suntory.

George Smith passes the ball during the Bledisloe Cup rugby union match between the All Blacks and the Wallabies, Brisbane, Australia, 2006.

George Smith throws a pass during a 2006 test against the All Blacks. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Yomiuri Shimbun daily reported on Thursday (NZ time) that a drunken Smith was arrested after refusing to pay a 10,000 yen ($NZ125) cab fare and fleeing, then punching the taxi driver.

The Yomiuri says the driver chased him multiple times shortly after midnight on December 31.

The 37-year-old had denied the allegations, the paper added.

Smith, having won 111 caps for the Wallabies, plays for Tokyo-based Suntory Sungoliath.

Local police were not immediately available for comment but Suntory Holdings Ltd confirmed his arrest.

"It is true that George Smith, under contract to our rugby team, has been arrested," the company said in a statement.

"We issue a heartfelt apology to the victim, as well as other related people, as well as to the many people who have worried and been caused problems by this."

Flanker Smith made his professional debut in 2000 with the Brumbies and, since retiring from international rugby in 2010, has played in France, England and Japan.

He returned to Super Rugby in Australia last season for a stint with the Queensland Reds.

- Reuters