Talk of George Smith returning to the Wallabies' fold has come as a surprise to his new English club Wasps, but the Aviva Premiership outfit won't stand in his way if is called up.
Smith, 34, was left out of the Wallabies' 40-man squad named ahead of the opening Rugby Championship Test against South Africa in Brisbane on July 18, but coach Michael Cheika revealed subsequently that he had been in discussion with the 111-Test veteran about playing No.8 for Australia.
Wasps director of rugby Dai Young said that he would allow Smith, who joined the club on a one-year deal from Lyon, to play at the World Cup, if selected, even though the tournament clashes with the start of the Aviva Premiership. The domestic tournament kicks-off on the weekend of the World Cup quarter-finals.
"When we signed him that wasn't part of the deal, so they've changed the goalposts," Young said. "We didn't know that we might lose him for the start of the season. But being an ex-player, I wouldn't want to stop someone playing at a World Cup. Even if that wasn't my mindset, it is clearly stated you can't stop a player from playing international rugby.
"He's on stand-by so we're keeping our fingers crossed that nobody gets injured. But George has got half an eye on it because it would be an unexpected bonus for him. If he does go to the World Cup, it's something we'd deal with. He would certainly go with my blessing."