Wellington - Veteran Springbok lock Bakkies Botha has backed his under-siege captain John Smit, describing him as the best Springboks rugby captain he has played under.
Smit arrived at the Rugby World Cup plagued by media criticism that he is no longer South Africa's best hooker or best captain and that the Boks may be at a disadvantage by playing him.
But Botha, with typical directness, has endorsed Smit as South Africa's best captaincy option, saying "in leadership and as a person he's phenomenal."
Botha said Monday that "what's so phenomenal is he's getting all the criticism as not the best captain, not the best hooker, but it's like water off a duck's back."
* Can the Springboks fend off Wales in their RWC opener? Click HERE for the latest RWC odds on BET.CO.ZA