Kwagga Smith going for gold

2016-07-18 12:28
Kwagga Smith (Gallo)

Cape Town - Kwagga Smith has proven to be a key player in the Springbok Sevens squad this season, which bodes well for the upcoming Olympic Games.

Standing at 1.82m and weighing 93kg, Kwagga Smith is not one of the biggest players on the World Series circuit. However, his notable physical strength makes him one of the toughest players in sevens rugby.

Smith has been one of the standout performers for the Blitzboks during the current campaign, helping South Africa emerge as one of the front-runners for the international title.

The sturdy forward’s individual value as a ball-carrier and tackler, and his efforts around the rucks and breakdowns have been big boosts towards South Africa’s cause.

As a proud product of the SA Sevens Academy, Smith is always happy to make a valuable contribution when called upon.

“Joining the Sevens Academy in Stellenbosch was one of the best decisions at the start of my professional career,” Smith told MyPlayers.

“It’s something I’d definitely recommend to any young player who has the option to do so. My game has developed a great deal during my time in the system, especially when it comes to targeting space and reacting to various match situations quicker.

“The decision to join the sevens system gave me the honour of representing my country on the global stage at a young age. I toured some of the biggest cities around the world. I settled in nicely thanks to my coaches and team-mates, who have become my family.”

With sevens rugby making its debut at the Olympic Games in August, a number of 15s stars have featured on the World Series circuit to prove their worth in the shorter format. Smith believes this has been great for the game.

“It’s nice seeing some of the biggest names in rugby dedicating their time to sevens rugby. You have guys like Sonny Bill Williams playing for New Zealand and Quade Cooper called up by Australia. The likes of Bryan Habana, Francois Hougaard and Juan de Jongh have also spent time with us in recent months,” said Smith.

“The sevens field is already so competitive and this gives us the opportunity to measure ourselves against the best in the business.

“The shorter World Series schedule has also tested us mentally and physically. With only two to three weeks in between back-to-back tournaments, our recovery and preparation processes are more important than before.”

With the World Series done and dusted, the Springbok Sevens are fully focused on winning an Olympic medal. Smith hopes to make a positive impact during South Africa’s podium pursuit.

“My greatest rugby memory was winning the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2014. That was a small taste of what the Olympics will be like,” said Smith.

“It’s a huge honour to receive the opportunity to play in Brazil. I hope to maintain good form and deliver consistent performances during the World Series. I believe South Africa will have what it takes to medal at the Olympics and I’m delighted to be a part of the journey.”

In the long-term, Smith also hopes to achieve success in the 15-man game. The flank was part of the Lions squad that enjoyed an unbeaten, title-winning run in the Currie Cup in 2015.

“The Lions are achieving amazing things as a tight unit. I hope to play a bigger role for the team in Super Rugby in future,” said Smith. “I also hope to achieve my national honours in 15s. I want to play for the Springboks, especially ahead of the upcoming Rugby World Cup in Japan.”

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