And 12 years on Smith is in line to face the Lions once more, having returned to the ACT Brumbies, on loan from Sunatory in Japan, and caught the eye of Robbie Deans
"Initially I was going to have a good go at Super Rugby again and test myself as a player," said Smith.
"I feel I've done that now. This has been a special opportunity for me and my family, to return to the Brumbies for what will probably be the last time.
"I've already been lucky enough to build a legacy I am proud of with the club, so to be given another chance to add to that is exciting.
"If there was a Wallabies call-up, I'd be very happy. I did retire from Test rugby in 2010 and I don't want to deceive people in saying that I'm just coming back for the Lions series.
"It's a huge occasion for the Wallabies.
"It's a huge honour to play for Australia and I'd like to be considered for that series."
Smith called time on his international career in February 2010, after winning 110 caps for the Wallabies. He enjoyed stints at Toulon and Stade Francais before moving to Japan.
But the veteran flanker answered an injury SOS from the Brumbies when Ita Vaea picked up a serious injury.
Smith was set to play second-fiddle to David Pocock at the Brumbies but when the Pocock ruptured his cruciate ligament the stalwart was thrust into the limelight and he has impressed ever since.
Selecting an overseas contracted player would be a first for the Wallabies, who have a rule of only picking home-based players, but having extended his loan with the Brumbies, his inclusion against the Lions is increasingly likely.