Smit's World Cup dream alive
Durban - A South African Rugby union (SARU) spokesperson has confirmed that Springbok captain John Smit will travel to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in September.
Click to BUY the Touch, Pause, Engage – Exploring the heart of South African Rugby book
This comes after reports surfaced that the most experienced captain in world rugby sustained an arm injury during Saturday’s 14-9 Tri-Nations loss to Australia that could potentially end his World Cup dream.
While Smit is in a fair amount of discomfort following the injury, the spokesperson confirmed there is no doubt that he will be part of the touring party that leaves for New Zealand on September 1.
A final assessment as to the severity of injuries that occurred during the Durban Test will be made on Monday. "I sort of pushed the arm more back when I shifted to tighthead and went off as a precaution," Smit said in the post match press conferece.
"It's probably nothing that elastoplast can't fix."
Other players that will be assessed along with Smit are Frans Steyn (hamstring) and flank Danie Rossouw (shoulder).
Looking back at the match itself, Smit said that it was a horrible loss especially after the team had shown so much promise during the earlier stages of the contest.
Almost the entire starting XV were returning to the field for the first time in six to eight weeks, while Fourie du Preez and Heinrich Brüssow had been out for close to two years.
After a third successive loss in this year’s competition, Smit felt the team, which included almost the entire old guard, lacked ruthlessness in front of the tryline.
"There was some progress, but we needed to convert some territory into points in the first half," he said.
"So 6-0 at half time is probably where we lost this game.
"It’s a horrible Test to lose because it’s not like we didn’t have a reasonable amount of control, we just didn’t convert it.
"We had sufficient turnovers produced by reasonably good defence for a change and we didn’t use those turnovers as well as we should have.
"It was frustrating and I was concerned going into half time just 6-0 up after the kind of rugby we played knowing full well that majority of the guys probably weren’t going to be firing come 70 minutes."
Coach Peter de Villiers had spoken before the match about the "rustiness" he was expecting, although there were little signs of it right until the end when some of the returnees had to be replaced due to tiredness.
Smit paid tribute to the Wallabies following a third win in Durban in their last five matches, but also opted to focus on the positives for the world champions.
The skipper, who played his last match at his home ground before international retirement, continued: " To lose is not something we are proud of, but there’s a lot to draw from this.
"We’ll have to work quite hard and take what we did well this week.
"The thing that’s going to be the big positive is that some guys got through this week, they got through some match hardness and fitness and next week will be a different ball game."
South Africa next face New Zealand in Port Elizabeth on Saturday in what is their last match before they head to the World Cup and Smit, whose side has won just four out of their last 13 Tests, highlighted the importance of restoring public faith and belief within his own side.
"It’s certainly not what the guys wanted, to lose a Test," he said.
"There is always a bit of (self) doubt when you lose, but it’s how you bounce back from that which is important.
"These guys have bounced back a few times and there needs to be more bouncing back going into this next weekend, certainly to get ourselves in a positive frame of mind getting onto that airplane.
"We don’t want to be a team that says ‘judge us on a World Cup’. We need to start playing some rugby before and make sure we improve next week."