It’s time Smit leads from blazer

2011-09-11 14:35

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town - The crystal-clear has just become even more abundant than that … awkward and regrettable though it is, John Smit simply cannot lead the Springboks from the front line in key remaining matches at this World Cup.

Click to BUY the new Drifta Mobile USB Decoder

Click to BUY the Rugby World Cup 2011 Game for Xbox

Perhaps he could still do the start-out honours against Fiji, next up. Certainly the same could apply to the Namibia date after that.

But from the potential banana-peel fixture to close their Pool D account against Samoa and presumably onward into the knockout stage, Bismarck du Plessis now has to be the top hooker in the Bok pecking order, for crying out loud.

I am not even sure whether, from that point in the tournament, the veteran leader deserves to command a place among the reserves - although Smit offers at least some measure of front-row versatility, can his 33-year-old legs really offer much in the way of essential “impact” late on?

No, this distinguished gentleman of the game must quickly be remodelled - against all but any remaining RWC easy-beats - into a motivator and pillar of wisdom and advice from the sanctuary of a team blazer, which still fits him snugly and handsomely.

Let’s get this straight, John Smit didn’t play glaringly wretchedly against Wales at Wellington on Sunday. Or at least no worse than several other of the much-discussed senior citizens in the Springbok stable.

But we’ve also waited very patiently for a genuinely eight- or nine-out-of-10 personal performance from him in 2011 that just hasn’t come. Not by a long shot.

Bluntly, he doesn’t have the mobility and dynamism to compete with the modern trailblazers in his slot: he’s become an ordinary presence stuck somewhere in the peloton.

The less forgiving might even spit out this ignominious label: “liability”.

But the facts from the Cake Tin are pretty straightforward: with Smit and one or two other puffing presences still on the park as the match neared the three-quarter mark, South Africa were trailing 16-10 on the scoreboard with alarm bells ringing deafeningly around them.

Smit and others are supposed to bring the Boks “grunt” … yet the snarl was instead coming overwhelmingly from the inspired men in scarlet.

It was time for emergency measures and Peter de Villiers, to his credit, answered the need: in quick succession, on came Du Plessis, Willem Alberts and Francois Hougaard for a labouring Smit, Pierre Spies and Bryan Habana.

Commentator and former Bok captain Bob Skinstad was quickly able to trumpet (and there hadn’t hitherto been much cause for that, from the perspective of the defending champions) the “energy” injected by the newcomers, who played pivotal roles in a turnaround that had seemed unlikely.

In some 23 telling minutes, Smit’s direct replacement busied - or should that read Bizzied? - himself to a luminary degree, his face seemingly always at the forefront of things as the twist in this tale gradually took fruitful shape.

And there was Du Plessis after the siren, too, pilfering a ball back for the green and gold as the disbelieving, trailing Welsh gamely tried to launch one final onslaught to snatch back a victory that had earlier appeared to be so legitimately theirs to the vast majority of neutrals, I’m sure.

Ever the diplomat and decent man, Smit felt compelled afterwards to laud “Bizzie’s turnovers at crucial times”.
Too right.

If it’s any consolation for the captain, he isn’t the only ageing Bok soldier requiring rigorous post-match scrutiny - someone like scrumhalf string-puller Fourie du Preez perplexingly continues to mix the near-sublime with the rank shaky this year - and if there’s a school of thought that the Boks are basking in delusional, past glory, this match only watered that particular plant.

There’s a further complicating aspect, while on that theme: if the Boks are going to stick stubbornly to their corroding template, are they also going to have to do so, at least for a while, without their maximum personnel geared for it?

Certainly the sight of World Cup-jinxed Jean de Villiers and lineout kingpin Victor Matfield leaving the field prematurely via injury will only add to some confusion and unease in coming days.

There were some silver linings.

First the obvious one: despite this bumbling, low-oomph show, the Boks have taken a massive step in pool terms, considering that Wales are supposedly their stiffest obstacle.

Been there, done that … somehow.

And then how about the “gees” shown by the likes of Schalk Burger and Heinrich Brüssow, considering that these loose forwards spent so much time in unexpected scrambling, retreating mode?

That fellow Burger is a machine: only he could produce a high-industry comeback like that after so many weeks on the sidelines, couldn’t he?

Onward, thus, march the Springboks, albeit on near-embarrassed tiptoes just at the moment.

Did we “moer hulle”, as the big-mouthed Minister of Sport had so publicly desired?

I hardly think so.


  • Frans Smith - 2011-09-11 14:44

    i agree 100% with the writer. Smit, Spies and Habana did not contribute and sadly were more of a liability than an asset. It must be staring PDV in the face now - the entire rugby world is commenting on this now for months.

      Jean - 2011-09-11 14:59

      i have to say pdv played a good hand with his bench today

      Frans Smith - 2011-09-11 15:03

      Jean, maybe his "bench" should not be on the bench, but in the starting 15? Maybe Rassie had an influence on the decicions...?

      BOFFINBOB_UNBANNED - 2011-09-11 15:46

      Smit....One anthem too many !

      scorpio - 2011-09-11 16:13

      I have said all along - this team has no plan. It has too many passengers. The old guard offer very few options on attack. This team is going to battle against Samoa, there is no doubt. I can't see the Springboks progressing beyond the quarter finals. If its any consolation, I don't think the awesome All Blacks will win this competition either - the Aussies really do look unbeatable to me. Early days, so we will just have to wait and see.

      Goddok - 2011-09-11 16:41

      Ons het die heeltyd met die wind van agter gespeel soos Smit geblaas het

      FM150 - 2011-09-11 16:42

      Oh my word. KOm ek shatter vandag vir talle ondersteners n feit waarop ons n blinde oog ontwikkel het. Persepsie. Baie van ons meet n speler op persepsie, hoe op aarde kan Morne Steyn swak wees as hy dan vandag 7punte aangeteken het? Wel ek vra weer, waarvandaan het Wallis se momentum gekom om hul 16punte te gee? Talle kere op sy kanaal! Maar hys "simply te best" of, ons het blykbaar die "beste" senter paar in wereld rugby, ek vra, wanneer laas het die eintste twee saam n drie geskep? Ok bygelas, JF is wel van internationale gehalte en wonder net wat hy sou kon verrig langs n man soos SBW!? Ah en Schalk. . sensitiewe onderwerp vir talle ondersteuners en dis waarom ek gaan begin met, seker die fikste man op n veld en propvol talent, maar seker van die domste spandering van daardie eienskappe! Wat help dit jys orals op die veld, maar doen eintlik niks produktiefs nie. Tackle manne wat reeds oppad grond toe is deur n ander verdediger, stamp n man se kop nadat hy getackle is, of gaan in n ruck in wat reeds "secured" was deur ander spelers!? Brave and gutsy, but stupid! Smit, die man is 33jaar oud en kan nie n bal steel soos Bismark nie! True, en n 80minute speler is hy beslis nie, maar is ek die enigste een wat sie hoe stabiel n scrum is met hom op hakker!? Laat hy druk absorbeer vir minstens 35min en bring Bismark op! n Ruck kort net een man om n turnover te kry en met n vars Heinrich te sit maak geen sin om Bismark te start en ALLE 'Umpf" weg te vat later in die game waar. .

      Spyker May - 2011-09-11 18:00

      SUGGESTION: Can Sport24 add a means to rate their articles - I would like to give the leading article 11 / 9...

      Juggernaut - 2011-09-11 18:09

      Bit harsh on Spies; he did not do any thing wrong. Point is we were outplalyed on the ground mostly and it is not an 8th man's job to forage for the ball. If we had a backline coach Spies would come more into his own in a looser style.

      SonderSnor - 2011-09-11 18:12

      I do not think PDV and Captain JS will click before we are on our way home. Hopefully somebody in the bloated management team has the insight to call them to order. J Smit got 9 out of 10 today. Taking into account that we trailed by 16 - 10 when he left the field, he has now lost 9 of the last 10 games he started as Captain. I for one does not understand what skills and experience he has to offer. Can Hoskins and all his "wisw men" not see this and intervene now.

      Allas - 2011-09-11 22:28

      You are right Juggernaut. Spies did no do anything wrong. BECAUSE HE DID NOT DO ANYTHING!!!!!! - 2011-09-12 08:38

      And Fourie Du Preez???? what are we going to do with him?

  • Theo - 2011-09-11 14:47

    Super Sport commentators are a bunch of fools supporting Smith all this time when he can't even keep up with the game. Smith is history after this game. Please Super Sport replace your commentators they cant even string a sentence together. I will be watching SABC when the Boks play again.

      Makutu - 2011-09-11 14:57

      They get paid to tell us lies. We not stupid. We can watch the game with our two open eyes. That conforms the fact that those guys' conditions of employment states that they can't criticize any player. But I don';t think that they should praise anyone who doesn't add any value. Why say that John Smit's leadership is critical while we could all see that he wasn't adding any value?

      Grunk - 2011-09-11 15:00

      I actually watched the the SABC version - withNZ Commentators - and they rather kindly didn't mention Smit's name once. I was counting the minutes and seconds for Smit's departure because the longer he was off the better chance we had. Just as a matter of interest, as all are probably aware, I am no fan of Habana but I think his replacement rather than JPP was a bit unfortunate as he was not only totally off form but was also giving away penalties. Now we have the situation of carrying 4 passengers(Smit, Du Preez, Habana and Spies) when we could have been carrying a better equipped replacement foursome.

      warrick - 2011-09-11 15:01

      I agree I had to change the channel as well! Bobby is the worse commentator ever!

      Scaramouche - 2011-09-11 15:36

      Theo, in order to not chuck your name away with them - please stop referring to Smith (are you taking about Juan???) if you want to talk about tyhe Captain of the day (John) Smit. It helps to critisize if you actually know something about rugby!!

      Theo - 2011-09-11 15:42

      Sorry for the spelling mistake it is Smit, in regards To Juan he is not in the bok team,

      ray - 2011-09-11 16:09

      Smith is our cricket captain.Our rugby captain is Smit-glad you aren't one of the commentators!

      Theo - 2011-09-11 16:13

      I said I was sorry Ray ,

      myjdjames - 2011-09-11 18:05

      U CAN always change the commentary feed. I have mine on the international default :)

  • Frans Smith - 2011-09-11 14:49

    Can any of the Smit supporters that has been so vocal during the last two years still tell me that he deserves to be in the side? I have said this two years ago and i say so again; he should have been part of the management team rather and Chilli Boy should have been the 2nd hooker on the bench.

      AA - 2011-09-11 17:06

      Frans. I have been a Smit supporter because i do not believe in just dropping captains and believe that he does bring a calm head and experience to the team. However i am man enough to admit when i am wrong and agree that now it is time to let him lead from the bench. We are there to defend our title and need the best we can field. What we also need to consider, that there are a full fifteen men on the field, even if Smit is dropped it may not fix all the problems the boks are having. Out of all the opening games, this was probably one of the toughest. NZ were a bit shabby against Tonga, the French got a shock against Japan , England almost lost to Argentina and Italy played well in the first half against Australia, untill they realised that Cooper is not smart enough to be a fly half. The Boks did well, least we won it. Hopefully they can just move on from there. Still we need to be firmly behind the team guys. I have not come accross any team in the world where the fans love to hate a team so much. There is always complaining about the Boks, from their own fans.

      RandomDude - 2011-09-11 17:57

      The 2nd best, possibly best, SA #2 is playing for Saracens ..S Brits.

  • Makutu - 2011-09-11 14:49

    He is useless! We have been saying that for three years now! He is finished goods. Today he was nowhere to be seen. He was being tackled backwards by a center, he misses tackles and jogs the whole game. What value does he add to the game? WHAT VALUE! He is piss man! Nothing to the Bokke, he must bow out gracefully!

      Grunk - 2011-09-11 18:07

      Unfortunately the time for "gracefully" was up when he won his 100th Cap. It is totally disgraceful that he has not acknowledged for the good of SA Rugby, his teammates, its players and its fans that he has been well past it for at least 2 years.

  • Charmander - 2011-09-11 14:50

    A depressing performance, especially considering that the team's potential is being undermined by plain stupidity (in the guise of Peter de Villiers) and an unwillingness to put the team ahead of the individual/ego (Smit, Habana, etc)

  • Frans Smith - 2011-09-11 14:53

    SKY commentator said with just over 20 min to go "Smit does not look like he could run a hundred meters". I feel sorry for him in a way, he was chosen by the idiot PDV, and he still though he could do it...but even he must realise now that he must sit out for the greater cause. Francois Pienaar and Sean Fritpatrick were brutally honest in saying that it must be clear to PDV that you can not leave the best hooker in world rugby on the bench whilst playing smit who should not make the starting 15.

      Theo - 2011-09-11 15:46

      I don't feel sorry for Smit he had this coming and all this time the Super Sport presenters supported Smith , in Fact super Sports presenters are never critical at all. It will interesting to see how everybody will suddenly be critical of Smith. Let us hope he resigns by tomorrow morning.

      thefeather - 2011-09-11 16:03

      Theo, you tool, his name is John Smit. If you're going to abuse the guy, at least do him the honour of getting his name right.

      Theo - 2011-09-11 19:16

      The feather, it is not about abuse Smit has brought this on himself, we all knew this day would come, and its has arrived and he has nor performed , why must Bismark sit on the bench for an incompetent player. This issue is going to disrupt the team if it is not resolved, you say I'm a tool could you pls explain?

      thefeather - 2011-09-11 22:19

      I said you're a tool because you keep getting his name wrong. If you're going to be sanctimonious about abusing someone then at least make the effort to get his name right. I wasn't questioning your logic or your opinion, but you would add a lot of credibility to your attack if you at least referred to the right person.

      Theo - 2011-09-12 09:39

      Thanks thefeather, point taken.

  • marilee germishuys - 2011-09-11 14:54

    a win is a win regardless of smith habbana etc. Wales are a strong oppenent. Japan almost beat france. The pumas came so close to beating England. As mentioned Wales almost caused an upset. Gives the boys some time they will find their rhythm

  • marc.a.tison - 2011-09-11 15:00

    I likes Francois Steyn. Looks like someone asked him to drop his attitude and focus on his role in the team. He also looks trimmer (more than just the beard and the hair). It is clear that John Smit must go. In fact he just proved today that he could not captain. They should have stuck to the plan of the first 5 minutes and retained more possession and recycled the ball more. The tries would have come, like they did in the first 5 minutes. It is the captains job on the park to retain the shape and adapt to the circumstances. In my view he failed dismally at that. Spies cannot play a defensive game. The stats were all agains the Boks (bar breakdowns). Spies is a go forward 8th man and simply not able to cope with the other side leading possession and territory. Matfield was terrible. It was like he was not there. His mind was elsewhere. Perhaps with Bakkies. He never contested a single line out. I was so disappointed. Reminded me of why Jake White dropped him so ceremoniously. Matfield if you ever read need to wake up if you want to be remembered as the best lock SA ever had because 2011 has been a Provincial B performance. You need to inspire the young guns like you once did with Bakkies. So I would...remove John Smit, Matfield and Du Preez - they need to wake up. Bring on Hougard at scrum half. Muller must replace Matfiled in the role of line out specialist with Willem Alberts playing the enforcer role. Francois Louw needs to come in at 8.

      Witbaas2011 - 2011-09-11 15:31

      Marc, how could you even dream to mention Victor as the best lock SA ever had, in the same breath as FRIK DU PREEZ, the greatest ever rugby player (and coincedently a lock)

      Ouklip - 2011-09-11 18:22

      @wdvilliers Frik is one player who would have excelled in today’s rules. He was a natural. He was fast, had good hands and he was not scared. It is absolute rubbish that the guys would not have been tops. What do you know about Frik that convince you about that?

  • Frans Smith - 2011-09-11 15:09

    Big problem; Jean injured, who else do we have on centre? We just dont have another world class player who have been groomed for this position? Matfield injured - we have a big problem on locks - most of them injured? It is in the big games that this will count against us..sadly.

      BardofAvon - 2011-09-11 17:21

      Lambie at center?

      Martin - 2011-09-11 17:22

      Lamby will be a success at inside centre, he can be 10 on attack and then whole backline will get momentum.

      jontheb - 2011-09-11 20:15

      Put Frans Steyn at inside center (he replaced JdV in 2007 as well remember) That leaves the question of fullback - Pat Lambie perhaps or even Aplon...

      Karoobloed - 2011-09-12 05:41

      Agree 100% - Frans Steyn would be our best option at 12.

      Peet - 2011-09-12 13:38

      Put Pierre Spies at centre, because he clearly isn't a No 8

  • BB - 2011-09-11 15:10

    You are the weakest link, GOOD BEY!

      Blaauwberg - 2011-09-11 15:20


  • kotzeae - 2011-09-11 15:15

    Congratulations on a victory you hardly deserve Springboks. You did not play well. One can hardly win a match without the ball. You had lots of ball but chose to kick it away. If you want to kick high you need to chase hard and place pressure on the catcher. This you do not do, so why do you kick the ball? Your game plan is not the tried and trusted kick and chase. It is now kick and wait. Perplexing strategy.

  • Brainbow - 2011-09-11 15:17

    John Smit is the greatest leader in world rugby, as time shall tell (in my humble opinion). He can do his job from the bench though and I have no double PDV will have Bizzie playing through in all of bigger games going forward.

      Frans Smith - 2011-09-11 15:21

      he will be the first captain in world cup history then to lead from the bench...? should you not have a captain on the field to interact with ref and to make decicions?

  • Proefeet - 2011-09-11 15:18

    There can be few less relevant occupations on this planet than a sports journalist.

  • The Situation - 2011-09-11 15:23

    Sad but true. Among the okes who didn't play that well today, Fourie du Preez is the only player I think will get better with the next run.The least said about Spies, Habanna & Smit, the better. Habanna can still play but he must move to the bench to make way for Hougaard. Alberts for Spies. All credit to the subs for this match. People are praising Hougie, Bissie, but don't credit Johan Muller for his filling of Matfiled's shoes. Boy, he was solid.

  • Barry Edwards - 2011-09-11 15:23

    I cant argue with the writer here. Smit should be on the bench. So too, should Morne Steyn and Bryan Habana be on the bench. Morne's kicking away possession showed just how weakened the side is with him at 10. Butch should be there I think Hougaard's presence on the field was felt immediately and he scored a match winning try. Habana does not bring that presence any more

  • faan roetz - 2011-09-11 15:25

    The things that went wrong for the Springboks can all be worked on, but Wales can not reverse the result. The Springboks have won because they were hungrier to win and can only move on to better performances. They will now get fitter, gel better as a team and gradually develop to the best they can be. Individuals will rise and fall and stars will shine and sob. This team is nowhere near its best and we can only hope they reach it during the next few weeks. None of our previous RWC teams of 1995, 1999, 2003 or 2997 were perfect and can probably only be separated by the respective attitudes they developed and played with. This team wants to win.

      Andrew - 2011-09-11 18:35

      Faan with all due respect we were atrocious today, it is too late to work on the stuff we were poor at. The older the player the more injury prone, Victor and Jean, you cannot reverse the ageing process. The older players are fit enought to maintain 80 minutes, but not at 100%. We are so entrenched in a playing pattern, 6 years old now, that it will be impossible to change. It is so predictable its scary. Teams we play don't need to compete for the ball, we kick it to thm with regular monotony. My wife calls the kicks before they happen. It takes more energy to stop someone that to be stopped, yet we persist in absorbing all these heavy hits? The first 10 minutes I thought eish, what has happened in the last two weeks, have the Boks been bluffing, lulling the opposition into a false sense of security. Then after 10 odd minutes we reverted back to our normal play ..... give them the ball, let them run back at us and defend like hell and hope like crazy that Morne gets his penalties over. We are unable to sustain 80 minutes of play at international level, it is really that simple. Peter did not substitute, he simply put his starting lineup onto the park. The most worrying thing is that we did not have a spring in our step, we look like a boxer who retuns to the ring when overage and overweight, we will win against the lesser contenders but won't get a title shot. We are going through the motions getting a salary.

      anna - 2011-09-11 19:33

      Andrew! I thought the very same thing! I was thinking these guys really got the message......then we got afraid, and we became conventional and weak! Kicks to nowhere show no confidence and character, it is like they are afraid of scoring and only know how to save their score! They will eventually be on the losing end as the art of winning would be lost! Wales were exciting and deserved to win!

      Neville - 2011-09-11 19:49

      The problem is an outdated game plan . The Coach has made no changes and kept things the same as in the Jake White era. White once said of a fetcher like Brussouw....i need a person to fetch my beer. How mistaken he was and Brussouw is awesome. Du Preez is too slow and Smit just not up to International rugby. Hey we might still win and all look stupid but i would love to see us play a whole game like we did for the first 10 minutes. I believe wqith a few tweeks like Hougard in at 9 and Bismark in at 2 we could actually do well. When we won the All Black test in PE we never even tried to score a try and for long periods today it was the same. And then a moment of brilliance saw us score two tries. Can the coaching staff not see this?

  • Jason - 2011-09-11 15:26

    I think its become a bit a witch hunt on Smit... Think the issue we had for the first 60min had to do with players like, Fourie Du Preez who wasn't as accurate as normal, schalk and spies really never dominated Brousouw was brilliant, Smit isn't bad Bismark is just soo much better. Habana the poor guy try's his heart out but just not the player he was. think out backline is fine no issues with them. Think Alberts on for Spies was more influence than Bismark on for Smit.

      Frans Smith - 2011-09-11 15:39

      No Jason, Smit is way passed (2 years) being good enough for Bok selection - face the truth!

      Louw - 2011-09-11 15:43

      Jason I agree 100% with you. Hougaardt should replace Du Preez.

  • United Shark - 2011-09-11 15:30

    Today was a sad day and felt like the match against England in the 2003 WC. I'm worried, really worried, coz I don't think that we have a chance in this WC. We might be lucky to beat Fiji, Samoa and then Ireland in the QF, but after that we will get hammered by NZL in the semi's and then hammered by who-ever else in the 3rd place play off. Our tactics are shocking! We kick all the possession away. None of the players bother chasing those useless up-and-unders. I don't know if our players are not fit enough to chace them or whether Peter De Villiers's tactics are to get a narrow lead and then give all the ball to the opponents and defend that narrow lead (it's risky and doesn't work). Peter De Villiers's selection of players is also shocking. Smit sucks and Bismarch is way better, but Smit is not the only problem. Habana.... didn't score a try for over 10 matches and he's lazy and looks unfit. He didn't chace any of the up-and-unders (in fact none of the Springboks did). When Hougaard came on, there was suddenly a spark in the backline. Why was Habana selected for this WC? His form was poor for 2 years for Boks and WP! Why wasn't Mvovo selected? The youngster would gain valuable experience and be better than Habana. We have no locks, now that Matfield also got injured. Roussow is too old and Johan Muller is old, unfit and nothing special. Instead of picking Muller, why wasn't someone like Haregreeves, Skeate or that young guy from WP selected? My Sunday is very spoiled!

      Jamal - 2011-09-11 15:49

      Oh really , please explain how we will lose to Fiji

      United Shark - 2011-09-11 16:15

      @Jamal, I didn't say that we will lose to Fiji. But seeing that Fiji, Samoa and Wales are on a similar level and we struggled to beat Wales, I can't imagine that we will beat Fiji and Samoa too convincingly, if we play like we did against Wales. We were lucky to beat Wales and we'll probably create a situation, where we will be lucky to beat Fiji/Samoa too.

  • cavafergie - 2011-09-11 15:33

    Smit, Habana and Butch James should not have been on that field this morning.

  • BLAP - 2011-09-11 15:45

    It was very obvious that Bismarck, Willem Alberts and Brussow is a must for the Bokke..I agree Smit and Habana must go, but I don't think Pieter de Villiers will do it now after he could have done it much earlier when the writing was on the wall... but it's never too late to select a team on merrit without the wrong people (presenters) blowing smoke up your @ss.

  • Johann - 2011-09-11 15:51

    We all hoped for much better than what we got, disappointing performance. ome of the experienced guys does not even show any drive as example to younger players. This is unlike other team's "toppies" who goes for it, can not understand.

  • Eugene - 2011-09-11 15:52

    Great article Rob - good to see some journos can still speak their mind in this country about certain players ;-)

  • Christiaan - 2011-09-11 16:08

    du preez is class. he's been out for a while and will find his form. smit has got to go.but the boks lost matfield (and bakkies was missing) the forwards were out of sink. and when fourie was replaced by b james the backs they were disrupted aswell. and then to find a way to find a way to win shows we can do it

  • scorpio - 2011-09-11 16:10

    I have said all along - this team has no plan. It has too many passengers. The old guard offer very few options on attack. This team is going to battle against Samoa, there is no doubt. I can't see the Springboks progressing beyond the quarter finals. If its any consolation, I don't think the awesome All Blacks will win this competition either - the Aussies really do look unbeatable to me. Early days, so we will just have to wait and see.

  • Neville - 2011-09-11 16:15

    Smit to drive the Team Bus. Du Preez to be dropped at the runway in case he actually takes off flapping his arms like he does. Hougard at 9, Louw at 8. Lambie at 10 with Morne Steyn at 15. Other Steyn to cover the centre postion with Mvovo in for Habana. Even Peterson looks out of sorts at wing.

  • gcr - 2011-09-11 16:18

    I too am disappointed with Smits efforts today - in the first half he lunged at least 4 times to tackle players but missed each time - the only time he seems to tackle is when the oppositions runs right into his arms. Bismarch is a busy player much like Burger and Brussow. Habana is dead scared of being injured and this influences his playing ability Morne Steyn only tackles in head on situations and in many other cases doesn't tackle so someone else has to do his work - the better teams are going to exploit this weakness, also he does not seem to be able to get the back line away - he does seem to have a distribution problem. JP P really needs to up his game far too many high tackles and holding the opposition and not taking them out of play. All I can say is thank goodness we won but the coaching staff have a mountain to climb to win this RWC - they need flexible game plans and need to field their strongest and fittest team

  • Graham - 2011-09-11 16:21

    Hougaard for Pterson, Du Preez will get better. Steyn works if the game plan is followed.Bizzie for Smit no question, every armchair critic can see this one

  • rosemarie - 2011-09-11 16:23

    John Smit is the worst Springbok Captain ever. The deluded captain picks himself- PdV goes along with the “senior” players selecting the team. John is selfish keeping better than him out He is too self-obsessed to be a captain – he along with PdV deserves ridicule John’s tale is not about glory but a pathetic narcissist moron.

      Neville - 2011-09-11 16:34

      Not the worst but a great player knows when to go and he certainly is doing SA Rugby no favours at the moment. Can't keep the best players on the bench. Game was tooooo close for comfort and i can see at least 6 other Teams slaying Wales. Hougard is sublime and i wonder what a pairing with Lambie will produce.

  • jan du preeaz - 2011-09-11 16:26

    don't forget burger, he is by far the dumbest rugby player in the world!!! takes the ball and run straight into the defender time and time again!!! We need new blood, the guys are too old for the game!!

  • Jarryd - 2011-09-11 16:26

    Smit out. Bismark in.Simple.

  • Dicey - 2011-09-11 16:56

    All opinion Rob. More facts, less favoritism. Too often journos abuse their ability to influence groups of people with their personal agendas. John is strong in areas where Bismark is weak & visa-versa.

      Maarten - 2011-09-11 17:15

      Out of all the replies to this article, did you notice that you alone support Smit? Come on, be honest now. You are his mommy aren't you?

      Dicey - 2011-09-11 23:00

      I dont drink, so I can actually remember the Bok games I've watched - unlike 90% of people commenting here - & I remember Bismark giving away plenty penalties for diving over the ball, or playing the ball off his feet, or any number of indiscretions at the ruck ... most of which cost the Boks 3 points apiece. & players - like leopards - dont change their spots ... witness Butch tackling without his arms again today!! Bismark is also very weak at finding his jumpers at lineouts, while John is excellent. On current form, Bismark is better in the loose & in the scrum, but John has proven BMT while Bismark has yet to prove that. Stop getting so emotional about the whole process & look at it logically.

  • gatvol4corru - 2011-09-11 16:58

    we all said -- keep JS in the coaches-box,if we want to win any games. How many times do we have to see JS waddle allover the field? Diplomats can not play the game! For F-sakes,stay off the field captain slow!

  • Harry Smith - 2011-09-11 16:59

    South Africa won the game and that is the only stat that matters...looking for excuses is not going to change that. John is a good leader and they all had part in the win. What the writer fail to acknowledge is that Wales did not sit back and wait for a Springbok onslaught, they were the attackers and did not allow SA to play. So get a life or do something useful with your life...

  • Lukas - 2011-09-11 17:03

    Poor Johnny should "injure" himself and depart graciously! This will also give "Div" a strong argument should we drop out of the RWC in the quarter finals ... Seriously, what a joke !!! Bismark is probably the worlds leading hooker with Adriaan Strauss a close second. I am sad to say that the other stallmates also failed completely and young guns such as Houghaard, Alberts, Bismark and De Jongh must be in the starting XV. By the way, De Villiers is also a "pissie" and Schalk is the best rugby player on the planet ! Please don't comment on my spelling as I am a "boertjie" ...

  • ŸÄ±Kleinboet - 2011-09-11 17:31

    And John please take jokers JdV, JF, dom Schalk and Habana with, hierdie overrated ape gaan ons nog van die `Pool`games laat verloor. Tyd om WO, Basson en Potgieter in te vlieg

      ouboet - 2011-09-11 17:51

      jy joke seker

  • Offal lover - 2011-09-11 17:39

    I wholly agree with Mr. Houwing, the presence of Bismarck du Plessis on the field adds so much more energy in our defensive play together with Heinrich Brüssouw. The last minute steal by the best hooker in World Rugby saved our boks from a potentially embarrasing loss against a bouyant Wales side.John Smit has done enough for SA Rugby and need not to worry should he decide to open his spot to someone that can play a full 80 minutes. He could still play a vital role on the sidelines and the dressing room. We need all our best players if we want to make any inroads towards defending our title.

  • Oom Koos - 2011-09-11 17:49

    The SA commentators is a bunch of crap. Thank you DSTV that I could choose language 4 to listen to proper commentary. Bob skinstad is a joke, an dthe pierce guy is worst than a aussie commentator

  • davedejager - 2011-09-11 18:34

    I agree John Smit should have the grace to let the better man play and contribute from the sideline.

  • jonathan.greyvenstein - 2011-09-11 18:37

    A donkey doesn't trip over the same stone twice.. Umm, in this case they do.. more than twice. Every time I see us kicking possession away, I cringe at the fact they (coach and players alike) find it so hard to see that the success rate of actually gaining territory without losing possession is nothing more than 5%. And that in contrast, when they carry the ball, keep possession, go through the phases.. the success rate of gaining territory with ball in hand is most likely around 65%. Why are they so freekin blind to this reality? Furthermore.. I can agree with all 500 other comments that the oldies need to take up bowling and leave professional rugby to the guys who can actually last over 10 min without heaving like asthma suffering patients..

  • Umstefaan - 2011-09-11 18:45

    if you all watched carefully:- Smit. Matfeild, du Preez.Pieterse, THAT BLOODY BUTCH jamesSpies and Habana were all passengers. 100 cheers for the du Plessis brothers. Brussow, Rousow Burgerand Frans Steyn. They carried the team but as Ghurchill said WE OWE A LOT TO SUCH A FEW but they can not do it all the time.

  • Barry Edwards - 2011-09-11 18:46

    How about have this lineup as the starting 15 for the next match against Fiji. 15 Lambie 14 Pietersen 13 Fourie 12 Styen (F) 11 Hougaard 10 James (Morne just kicks possession away it may work at S15 level but not at this level) 9 Du preez (he is rusty and will improve the more he plays) 8 Burger 7 Alberts 6 Brussouw 5 Matfield (C – on the field) (assuming he is not seriously injured) 4 Rossouw 3 Du Plessis (J) 2 Du Plessis (B) (Smit is overall captain on the Bench) 1 Beast

      BardofAvon - 2011-09-11 19:12

      What part of "marksman" don't you grasp?

      Maarten - 2011-09-11 19:14

      One question for you old bean. How many balls got past your precious Butch James, and how many did he kick away? Yeah, didn't think this one all the way through did you.

      Barry Edwards - 2011-09-11 19:31

      At least I am thinking. Morne is really not the man we need at 10. Lambie ?

      Karoobloed - 2011-09-12 05:59

      Morne may be one dimensional, but what a dimension! He has the most metronomical boot in World Rugby - not just at the posts, but for clearings and position too. His boot will probably be the difference between victory and defeat for us at RWC 2011. If we fail at RWC 2011, Morne should definitely not shoulder the blame. I would thus not leave Morne out of the starting 15 against the top sides. The Bokke have more pressing problems than Morne's perceived one-dimensional play. I would move Frans Steyn to 12 and Lambie to 15. Butch on the bench.

  • davedejager - 2011-09-11 18:56

    John Smit should have the grace to let a far better player than him play . It amazes me how the South African commentators refuse to criticise John Smit as if he is sacred. Bobby's classic comment that “the team is leaderless “ and few minutes later under Schalk’s captaincy the Bok’s score.

  • barend pienaar - 2011-09-11 18:56

    Die Bok span is in NZ om deel te neem in die W/Cup. Veranderings aan die span sal daar nie meer wees nie. Kom ons staan saam en support die manne of ons nou met die span keuses saam stem of nie. Die W/Cup is a game van ander kleur. Ek glo maar geen span in die wedstryd is daar om te verloor en elke game is 'n harde game. Vergeet wat die telbord wys. Ja spanne en spelers gaan foute maak en afdae beleef, maar dit is hoe die game werk. Vandag is jy onoorwonne en more slaan jy elke bal aan. Span werk kan help om 'n ander mede speler se afdag beter lyk. Spanne wat nou ver wen teen die sogenaamde swak spanne moet nog teen hul swaarste teenstanders in hulle pool speel. Bv NZ vs Frans ens. Kom ons kyk hoe vaar hul. Engeland het amper vasgeval teen Argentinia. Ek dink ons game se uitslag sal ons op ons tone hou en besef elke span en elke game is en gaan moeilik wees. Bokke speel hard manne ek ondersteun julle almal. Speel as 'n span en sodoende wen en verloor as 'n span. Alle sterkte en sien jul in Auckland die 30ste teen Samoa!!!!!

  • Nic - 2011-09-11 19:03

    Bismarck Chilly Andries Strauss Gary Botha Where exactly would John Smit fit on this list? Quite correct, at the bottom...come to think of it there may be a few more to add to this list before his name appears. Today we saw just how ineffectual his captaincy is too, we looked like Down syndrome sloths on Prozac...take him off and boom, energy, direction and a try. Within 5 minutes of Bizzy being on, he effected two turn-overs and carried the ball a number of times....more than JS had done in the entire game.... If this article is to be believed then JS and co are more in control of this team and its selections than we think. This would mean that JS places his own need to be seen as leader above that of our nation doing well. So as Nando’s said to Ard, I have two words for you.... He needs to step down immediately, his captaincy means it was quite clear to see. He had the respect of a nation; it is already gone from my mind. Egotistical self-involved overweight lump of lard that is making us look average! @Mobiles...another moron that bought his book and now can not let go of the wet dream that JS is not a super hero

  • JohnPicarra - 2011-09-11 19:41

    No contest has ever gone according to plan. Every plan has had to change and adjust to conditions or actions from the other side. So changes and adjustments are part and parcel of an ongoing competition.

  • amabok - 2011-09-11 19:50

    totally agree. Smit should be put on the first plane back to SA. Terrible way to end your career - not knowing when to call it quits.

      Christo - 2011-09-11 20:11

      I lost all my respect for smit not pulling out before being selected (If January could why not him)The fact is that he is withholding Bismark from from the no1 position and chiliboy from no 2.He is also putting any chance that we have to win the cup at risk.The same to Fourie du Preez.Hougard should start at scrumhalf.How can anybody suggest that smit should lead from the sideline.?

  • Danie Ferreira - 2011-09-11 20:24

    During the past year I watched all the Boks matches as well as the majority of the Sharks' games. In every single game that I watched where John Smit was in the starting line-up, his team either lost the match or was trailing when he was replaced. Enough said.

  • di - 2011-09-11 20:26

    The sweet sound of reason in a sea of confusion ... well written article.

  • AgPseDaddy - 2011-09-11 20:30

    If Smit, Spies and Bryan Habana done the green and gold again in the tournament, the Boka will be back home in a few weeks time. And all this thanks to a useless idiot called snore!!!!!!

  • Robert Hurn - 2011-09-11 20:45

    John smith could never lead sharks into victory. It is the bulls, sharks, Stormers, Cheetas, ect players that did. John Smith is a @ASSHOLE fat slow and directionless without good players from other provinces. FAT SLOB.