Smit set for last hurrah
Durban - The John Smit World XV has a distinctly Sharks flavour about it, with plenty of experience for the side named to take on the Sharks at Kings Park on Friday night.
According to Sharks website
editor Michael Marnewick
, the team includes the only three players boasting 100 caps or more for the Springboks (John Smit, Victor Matfield and Percy Montgomery), along with a wealth of internationals representing Argentina, Scotland, NZ Maoris, England and the All Blacks, and a few Kings Park favourites thrown in for good measure, there is no doubt that this game is not a social game of touch rugby.
Current and former Sharks players included are: Eighthman Shaun Sowerby, flyhalf Butch James, centre Marius Joubert, wing Brent Russell fullback Percy Montgomery and reserves Rob Linde, Rory Kockott, and Stefan Terblanche along with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Sharks XV youngsters Danie Minnie and Heimar Williams to mix it up with some of the legends of the game.
A definite fan favourite will be looking to put one past his old side, but will certainly earn the cheers of the crowd when he gets the ball is Brent Russell who has been playing his rugby in France for the past two years.
“I haven’t played here for about five years and I’m excited about it, looking forward to the game,” said Russell.
“It’s really nice to catch up with some of my old team-mates. It should be good fun, although the Sharks are probably taking it a lot more serious than we are. This is a nice send-off and a chance to play with some of the guys who will be or are already retired for the last time.”
Although a brewery tour was apparently on the cards for the afternoon - strictly for carbo-loading it seems - the John Smit World XV expect to be a competitive force in this match. “We’ll see how the first five minutes go, but I reckon it could be a very competitive game, the guys are really up for it. I know I certainly am.
“This is a great concept, providing good awareness around John’s charities and a nice way of putting a good spectacle together for John for everything he’s done for rugby and giving back a bit.” Teams:Sharks:
15 Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Jean Deysel (captain), 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Jandré Marais, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Substitutes: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Peet Marais, 19 Chris Cloete, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Gouws Prinsloo, 22 Rosco Speckman.
15 Percy Montgomery (SA), 14 Brent Russell (SA), 13 Matt Banahan (Eng), 12 Marius Joubert (SA), 11 Joe Maddock (NZ), 10 Butch James (SA), 9 Mark McMillian (Bath, Eng)), 8 Shaun Sowerby (SA), 7 Francois Louw (SA), 6 Julian Salvi (NZ), 5 Victor Matfield (SA), 4 Jason White (Scotland), 3 Faan Rautenbach (SA), 2 John Smit (SA, captain), 1 Martin Scelzo (Arg)
Substitutes: 16 Peter Dixon (SA), 17 Danie Minnie (SA, Sharks XV), 18 Rob Linde (SA, former Sharks, WP), 19 Hottie Louw (SA), 20 Rory Kockott (SA, former Sharks, Lions), 21 Stephen Donald (NZ), 22 Stefan Terblanche (SA), 23 Heimar Williams (SA, Sharks XV)