Smit lauds Kings’ hunger

    2013-03-08 10:07
    Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
    Cape Town – John Smit’s loyalties are far likelier to rest with the Sharks team he served for so long when they tackle Super Rugby rookies the Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, but the former Springbok captain admires the bright start the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium outfit have made.

    The veteran World Cup-winning skipper of 2007, who confirmed he is in his final season with Saracens, is on a short visit to home turf and was a guest on SuperSport’s weekly rugby show Boots & All on Thursday.

    He is tipped to have a swansong year on the books of French outfit Toulon.

    Versatile, 34-year-old front-ranker Smit said: “The enthusiasm and effort level (of the Kings) lit up their game against the Force.

    “If I saw that, as a Kings supporter, from the team every week I would be pitching up to back them, regardless of the results they will get.”

    He did not deny that the Sharks would be strong favourites for the Kings’ maiden experience of a South African conference derby, however: “They probably have the most gifted personnel at the (scrum) set-piece of all the SA teams.”

    Smit said it was too early to judge the calibre of local rugby this season, based on evidence from the tough but mostly unattractive and error-strewn clash between the Sharks and Stormers in Durban last weekend.

    “Whether there is much humidity around or not, this is a horrible time of the year to play there – it is not so bad for the Sharks, who have had their pre-season training in Durban, but opposing teams will almost always say February and March are (largely undesirable) for rugby there.

    “Handling (at Kings Park) will get better as the season develops.”

    Speaking about the Bulls’ opening Australasian tour game against the Blues – both sides unbeaten -- in Auckland on Sunday, Smit praised the “natural leadership” Pierre Spies brings to the Pretoria-based team.

    “I was interested when he said they may try to hang onto the ball a bit more (at Eden Park).

    “Without injured Bjorn Basson, they don’t want to hand over possession to the Blues too easily if not able to have their best kick-chase personnel.

    “I think they realise you cannot have to make too many tackles in your first match since the flight over (to New Zealand).”

    Smit said it was difficult comparing franchise rugby between the northern and southern hemispheres.

    “It’s apples versus pears. Climate comes into it a lot ... in snow or mud you are not going to be tossing about double skip passes and the like.

    “It is a cultural change. There is a huge amount of attention to detail from a coaching point of view (in England).

    “Small things, up-skilling ... there’s an accountability as well, as far as individual players are concerned.”

    *Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

    Read More On:  kings super 15 john smit rugby

    Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

    Comment on this story
    Add your comment
    Comment 0 characters remaining
    Live Video Streaming
    • Blitz
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
    • SS1
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
    • SS2
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
    • SS3
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
    Sport Talk
    Most Read


    13 February 2015
    • Crusaders v Melbourne Rebels, Christchurch 08:35
    • Brumbies v Reds, Canberra 10:40
    • Lions v Hurricanes, Johannesburg 19:10
    14 February 2015
    • Blues v Chiefs, Albany 08:35
    • Sharks v Cheetahs, Durban 17:05
    • Bulls v Stormers, Pretoria 19:10
    15 February 2015
    • Waratahs v Western Force, Sydney 07:05


    02 August 2014
    26 July 2014
    19 July 2014
    12 July 2014
    11 July 2014
    06 July 2014
    05 July 2014
    04 July 2014
    28 June 2014
    27 June 2014
    31 May 2014
    30 May 2014
    24 May 2014
    23 May 2014
    18 May 2014
    17 May 2014
    16 May 2014
    11 May 2014
    10 May 2014
    09 May 2014
    03 May 2014
    02 May 2014
    26 April 2014
    25 April 2014
    19 April 2014
    18 April 2014
    12 April 2014
    11 April 2014
    05 April 2014
    04 April 2014
    29 March 2014
    28 March 2014
    22 March 2014
    21 March 2014
    15 March 2014
    14 March 2014
    08 March 2014
    07 March 2014
    01 March 2014
    28 February 2014
    23 February 2014
    22 February 2014
    21 February 2014
    15 February 2014


    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    Does the Waratahs' Super Rugby victory give the Wallabies an edge heading into the Rugby Championship?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.