Smit's World Cup dream alive

2011-08-14 13:10

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.

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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."


  • Henk - 2011-08-14 13:17

    Hope Divvy gets his screws together before the world cup. Smit at tight head? Brussow so early off? No need to take James off. Frans Steyn need some discipline, it could have been different if he didn’t attempt that mad drop goal. It seems there is enough talent but a huge lack of strategy. Hope Rassie gets more power! Smit did great with throw ins, we need his leadership! Go Bokke! You are on the up and up!

      Thandiwe83 - 2011-08-14 13:21

      How can we keep Bismarck on the bench though - he plays with such ruthless passion and was Man of the Match nearly every autumn international

      Drewka - 2011-08-14 13:39

      We all hope so Henk. Divv and the management made some controversial changes in the 2nd 40. They should have replaced Danie Rossouw and kept Brussow on. Danie cost us the game and I hope he's not considered for RWC. I thought Smit, Spies, Brussow, Beast, Butch and JP played well. The whole team defended well but we came short on execution. It's as if Matfield and Bakkies just played for the lineouts and nothing more?? Next weekend it’s going to be tough. AND SMIT ISN"T A TIGHT HEAD PROP!!!

      shark271 - 2011-08-14 13:49

      Brussow was taken off because he hasn't a had a full game for ages and is just coming back from injury, so DIV didnt want to push him, which is fair. Frans Steyn just needs time, he hasn't played since the french top 14 ended which was in June and it was his first southern hemisphere game in a few years, he looks a bit like a prop but he is good.

      Netherlands - 2011-08-14 14:11

      Smitty.... rather pull a move and ANNOUNCE your RETIREMENT PRIOR to boarding that dreaded flight to NZ............ Keep LITTLE Apolon with you and ensure "Fat Frans" also remains behind!!!!!!!!!!!.... PLEASE!!!

      Henk - 2011-08-14 14:34

      Brussow needs to be looked after but the rest was just bad strategy. The loss should be at the hands of the Coaching staff! We desperately needed the win to create momentum and they just handed it to the Wallabies. Most of the players worked hard but we still need Lambey at Fullback. We need Alberts to start at flank.. Du Preez played great and Hougaardt can fill his shoes when needed. We need a backline coach to utilize the talent of the centers so thy can create more space.

      Frans Smith - 2011-08-14 20:46

      we dont need smit. this is a side with enough leaders and enough experience. we need the best players in every position. players that are physically up to it. i am not going to elaborate on the coaching and tactics, because their is little "visible" currently.

      JohnnyBB - 2011-08-15 08:01

      ...2 reasons why the Proteas will NOT win the World cup... John (has-been) Smit and AA BEE PDV.... - 2011-08-15 08:30 Watch this and you'll see that Rassie has enough power. So when things go wrong, he should get his fair share of blame. While PDV was on tour with the B team, Rassie was with the A Team. Lets be fair here.

  • Hayden - 2011-08-14 13:26

    Damn.... i knew this was coming that Smit will travel with the Boks to the WC. I'm really convinced that Smit faked his broken arm yesterday cause he was being bullied at prop & couldn't face the humiliation & did the honourable thing to come off & cheatly say he hurt his arm. Gewizzz drop Smit please!!!!!!!!

      Chilli Boy - 2011-08-14 13:36

      Smit had a good game at hooker, at least give him credit for that. He is not a tighthead prop, and has said so himself. He didn't want to move to tighthead, but Jannie du Plessis ran out of gas. The Beast and Gurthro can't play tighthead, so they turned to John. Why don't you blame Jannie for only lasting just more than a half, or de Villiers for not substituting a tighthead for a tighthead? The scrum was solid with John at hooker, or did you only watch him play prop?

      UTU - 2011-08-14 14:04

      @Hayden, he's a great captain, sitting off the bench as far as captaincy goes then but who's better? SA's tour down-under had/used J.Smit as a feeler. As a kiwi, never ever underestimate potential game plans. No captain, no game plan.......Matfield asks too many questions, who's the REF? NO MORE EXCUSES, What's the new excuse? This is reality no matter how you want to dress it up, SA during 2009 relied on penalties and scored from kicks/penalties yet under 2009 laws SA were off-side. NO MORE EXCUSES, Welcome

      StBad - 2011-08-14 15:28

      @ Chilli: fair comment: John's position in the team is overshadowed only by a 'brilliant' successor Bizzy and the coaching staff's consistent front row shuffling tactics... he's still a decent enough international and has done no wrong this T3 at hooker!

      Carl Muller - 2011-08-14 19:18

      Agree with you, he sucks as a captain....

      Frans Smith - 2011-08-14 20:50

      @chilliboy - smit did not have agood game at hooker or prop - compare to bismark, he was nowhere! if chilliboy played, you would have also seen the difference between him and smit. lets face it once and for all - smit is not even the fourth best hooker in the country. we dont need him, this side has enough leaders and enough experience (in his own admittance).

      JohnnyBB - 2011-08-15 08:05

      ...John Smit and PDV = useless....!! ..........bye-bye World Cup...!!

  • ZACommentator - 2011-08-14 13:27

    "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." You must be on some form of medication John as there was zero penetration, other than luck and one-off moves, over the Wallaby line, and the Wallabies broke us with a simple pass from left to right. Stop talking nonsense and see the truth.

      Frans Smith - 2011-08-14 20:56

      i agree 100% - we just can not score. we can not create opportunities from far out. we can not attack from second phase ball. they were brave - but we can not tackle for 90 minutes? if you can not score at least 3 tries per game - you are out. the average tries per game in the tri-nations 2009, 2010 for the winning side and now (2011) are in excess of 4.5 per game. the game has changed - even in big games (semi and quarter finals), we are going to see more points.

      birdman - 2011-08-15 10:08

      Desparation drop goal attempts when on attack, fumbled balls and knock-ons on the tryline is not what should be happening at Springbok level so close to the RWC showpiece. There was no plan on Saturday! Practicing bread basket passes is what they do in the under 12A team - not at National level. The players are still battling with too many fumbled passes - why? Place kicking should be spot on - EVERY TIME! Why are we still missing penalty kicks at this level? Both Butch & Stein "had a go". The place kicker at this point in time should be able to operate like a Swiss watch, but here we are still leaving points on the field. Penalties and place kicks win matches! What happened to the juggernaut that was the Bok team? It's too late to "go back to the drawing board". We may as well start planning for 2015!

  • Adrian - 2011-08-14 13:28

    Thats cos you're not a prop John... stick to being a hooker

      Thinker - 2011-08-14 13:46

      He doesn't beg to get put on prop, u know. He is well aware that he is a hooker. That's one of the poor decisions made by the coaching team.

      Sofa King. - 2011-08-14 13:46

      So he is the best hooker?

      Netherlands - 2011-08-14 14:15

      Have to ADD.... old Fourie du Preez looked like a WINDMILL everytime there was a rick of lose ball... Throwing his arms up at EVERY GIVEN MOMENT... I think the REF was thankful when he blew that last whistle.... could stand anymore du Preez animations!!

      Barry - 2011-08-14 14:15

      He is the best captain and hooker :)

  • gatvol4corru - 2011-08-14 13:28

    Ahhh damn! I thought the first bright light,was JS not going..

      Drewka - 2011-08-14 14:05

      Who is gona be Bok captain gatvol? Matfield??? Think again, we don't have a leader in that squad that can stand in John's shoes. and he did'nt play half bad either.

      Barry - 2011-08-14 14:19

      @ Drewka. I could not agree more.

      Frans Smith - 2011-08-14 20:59

      this squad is full of leaders (as admitted by smit himself) and this squad has enough experience. this is not a rookie squad. we dont need a passenger. i will take smit as consultant to the wc. that is where he will contribute much more.

  • Caveman28 - 2011-08-14 13:31

    This is good news. John does and will add value to our WC team! Go Bokke !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • hendrik.pienaar - 2011-08-14 13:31

    Smit should be apologising for not kicking those early penalties. Then it wouldn't have been only 6 - 0.

      supergords - 2011-08-14 21:10

      Smit explained why he chose not to kick those penalties . This is his words : Smit explained that despite a demoralising series of results in recent times there were other factors on his mind in Durban apart from seeking victory at any cost. The Bok skipper opted to set up attacking line-outs against the Wallabies at times when taking aim at the poles was perhaps the more prudent option, and he explained that it was necessary in order to give the old guard a chance to 'reconnect' after their time out due to 'rehabilitation'. "There was possibly a different attitude towards the game with not taking every single opportunity for poles and playing a little bit more rugby to get the guys working harder but that will hopefully all count for us by the time we do get to play-off rugby," explained the Springbok captain.

  • watalife - 2011-08-14 13:31

    The most Caped bok team ever and yes they lose a home game. What positives did they take out the game? If anything it did more damage and it will cost.

      Jonathan Davis - 2011-08-15 09:17

      We don't need supporters like you!

  • Thinker - 2011-08-14 13:34

    This was a totally different team from the team that started the previous two 3N games - so stop referring to this as their "third loss". The defensive line was good, the attach was strong, Spies was on better form than he has been all through the Super 15; same with Habana. Contrary to predictions by the moaning Molly's, Butch and Bakkies didn't get carded. John had a very high work rate and a solid game as hooker. The Wallabies were playing their hearts out, with a very strong side - yet we weren't allowing them try after try. We had a good game. Yes - there are aspects that need a lot of work. But, let's face it - our Springboks are not quite as pathetic as some of the 'supporters' are trying to imply. The coaching staff DO need to consider less replacements all at once, and better consider their subs choices. Green & Gold - win or lose. AND respect to the best Captain SA has ever seen.

      Caveman28 - 2011-08-14 13:39

      Hear hear; 100% "Thinker"

      ZACommentator - 2011-08-14 13:40

      What attack? I saw one dimensional running, no angles, no dummy runners, no set moves one has come to expect from even a decent CCup and club team. In short, PDV and Muir are, as has been Muir's case since before he even got to the Sharks, is to hope and pray one or 2 turns of individual brilliance get them over the line, rather than tactical decisions and sound coaching strategies. In short, this team is unfit and woefully unprepared on attack. Box kicks won't win the RWC.

      hendrik.pienaar - 2011-08-14 13:44

      I agree mostly. But John had a shocker of a game, worst I've ever seen him in a Bok jersey. Missed tackles, driven back carrying the ball, penalised for obstruction - to be fair he didn't ask to be playing tighthead. He also made shocking calls at the start to go for touch rather then kicking the penalties?!?! TAKE THE POINTS!!!! I supported John until after this game. Now I just think that he's past it. Best captain we've ever had, but he just isn't the same player.

      Grunk - 2011-08-14 14:12

      I'm one of those who has had serious problems with Spies and will now say that IF he can continue with the form shown in this game , he is worthy of his place. Two other boys showed that they are up with the best being Brussoux and Jacque Fourie. Bismarck showed immediately why he is in the team. However that said, if Smit is in the team for the world Cup we will definitely not make it through the quarters and there's a good 50/50 we will not make it out of the Group.

      hendrik.pienaar - 2011-08-14 14:21

      That's a bit dramatic. A loss to Australia isn't the end of the world. We will beat everyone at the World Cup besides Australia and NZ. Against those teams we 'have a shot'. A good shot I think.

      gharri - 2011-08-15 12:33

      Brilliant Thinker!

  • Neutralist - 2011-08-14 14:13

    There will be positives and negatives if Smit doesn't make it to the world cup. Whether there are more of either side of the coin is largely down to individual opinion but the general consensus (from the comments) seems to be there are more positives to him missing out

  • Barry - 2011-08-14 14:22

    I think the AB for sure are running scared after last nights game. "Resting McCaw and Carter". I hear Carter can't handle playing against James, who had a good game last night. Also the AB are the chokers in world rugby. Look at their history in the tournament

  • Straightdeal - 2011-08-14 14:30

    This is most average Springbok side I have seen in a long time. Most of them aren't even fit! What a disgrace to the nation.

      Barry - 2011-08-14 14:41

      You obviously have not been watching them recently then

      Kevin - 2011-08-14 15:42

      Barry he's right about the fitness levels. I read recently an article by Jannie Du Plessis on his "work" week and there is less than 15 hours given to practice and fitness. Many years ago as a part time pro sportsman I used to commit 28 hours a week to fitness strenght and aerobic training. They need to be fitter and it shows in that they cant last out an entire match of 80 minutes.

      Barry Edwards - 2011-08-14 16:15

      Kevin Hi, That could be so. Still how can Straightdeal say it the most average side ? I thought overall it was good match to watch.

  • Stefan72 - 2011-08-14 14:37

    I went to bed a happy man last night... the thought of JS not playing in the world cup even made yesterday's loss a bit easier to accept....... now this news.. probably good news for JS, but is it really good news for the Boks? If JS really cares for SA he will be man enough to acknowlege that he is NOT good enough.... surely he MUST know he's not the best hooker, prop (flyhalf, centre - that's where he seems to be playing most of his rugby lately) and captain available. Quit while you're ahead JS... do you really want to be remembered for this??? You played awesome rugby (a while ago), but you're not the player you used to be. The joke that is PDV and JS is not funny anymore.

  • SAFFA-CAT - 2011-08-14 14:54

    Let's lose the doom and gloom. Those expecting better than what the Boks delivered yesterday, were clutching. Match fitness and game time is ALL those boys need - end of. Spies (I will fall on my rusty sword) was impressive - but still a little lazy come ruck time and in defence - that said, Spies and Beast were the best Boks on the park - bravo. JDV, Danie, Smit ONLY when at tighthead, F Steyn and FDP were disappointing. The one thing worrying me: How the hell can anyone justify Bismarck only playing 35 minutes - the man is colossal. I watched England, Wales, Ireland and France.....believe me chaps, quite a few teams are in the same boat at the moment. The only team looking potent and unstoppable at the moment - the AB's. But would anyone bet on the Boks, England, France, Aussie, Wales, Ireland or the Argies NOT being competitive at all come the WC? Didn't think so. The Boks will be better against Kiwis next Saturday.

      Barry Edwards - 2011-08-14 15:12

      I agree. We are very close to the top of the pile and in the world cup anything can happen. I am more focused on the AB as the chokers of world rugby. Can they do it as the number one ranked nation on home turf? They certainly did not in France four years ago as the number 1's. Not even semi finals

      GraemeBB - 2011-08-14 15:46

      @SAFFA - I am so glad to hear some good reasoning. It appears that we watched the same game. JDV has been dissapointing for a while now. He just isnt the play-maker we know him to be. Frans Steyn did some good work, but not great, and looks fat and unfit. FDP was okish, however, he needs to come to the party in a big way. I dont like John, and still prefer Bissie and Chilli - but as hooker was ok. But Danie is struggling, and he needs to come off the bench. Wish Burger and Alberts was ready! I agree, the Boks will build-up towards the RWC, and I think it would be a bit premature to write them off. Go Bokke

  • SoulDaddy - 2011-08-14 15:16


  • Steelman - 2011-08-14 15:26

    The Boks are not too bad . I do however think it's a dream to think they can compete in the World Cup . Everyone has their time , and we've had ours . A bridge too far . Semi Final against All Blacks , that's as far as we can hope to go . Start building for 2015 . Goodbye Pieter de Villiers , Smit and Co .

  • jockvanwyk - 2011-08-14 15:27

    it was team tactics from the coach that lost us the game.

  • darkwing - 2011-08-14 16:22

    Chilli! Chilli! Chilli

  • bobbythebozo - 2011-08-14 16:30

    You guys all expected way too much. Aussies are a top side at the moment. And too much of this team had not played in too long. I have to say I was very enthusiastic about some performances including Smittie in the first half (I concede he is a disaster at tighthead), Pierre Spies looked like his old self, Habana seemed sharper than he has in the last year and there was a general willingness to attack from deep that hasnt been there before. The second half the lack of match fitness and the rustiness showed big time. I think Smit should go to the world cup. But not as captain and not as first choice hooker. He is probably still the no.2 hooker in the country at the moment though and his presence in the squad is still important. He should not be given any game time at tighthead. James is great but his touch kicking out of hand is second rate in my opinion. Out of range penalties, free kicks need to be tossed to Steyn and maybe he should even stand at flyhalf when we looking for a clearance kick. Realistically yesterday could easily have been a lot worse and I think these guys showed they can still make the final of the world cup - but realistically its gna take a monumental cockup by New Zealand for anyone else to win it.

  • Domkop - 2011-08-14 17:13

    The real problem: majority of Boks unfit and too old. Perhaps we should call this lot Madala-Madala.

  • rob barrie - 2011-08-14 17:49

    what a joke - smit dont fit on this level - his 'hardekop' attitude reflects poorly. He should acknowledged he is not on this level anymore. Please stop!

  • wholebunch - 2011-08-14 19:24

    what a pity

  • Carl Muller - 2011-08-14 19:25

    Keep his dream alive and our world cup is a goners... he must know when to bow out....and that is when you are on top.....lose out and it is too late. We will remember him as the guy that lost the world cup!

  • FJ2 - 2011-08-14 20:26

    Fourie du Preez het myns insiens nog baie te bied as 'n speler. Hoekom sou hy dan nou al so hard probeer om 'n skeidsregter te wees?

      Howzitekse - 2011-08-15 08:19

      Ek voel die teenoorgestelde. Hy wil nie speel nie, net skop en ref. Hy moet nou vir die 2de liga gaan ref of kantlyn draf-stap.

  • Frans Smith - 2011-08-14 21:04

    IT IS SIMPLE; i say; take smit as CONSULTANT to the wc - not player. first of al, he is not the best hooker by a long shot anymore - bismark is the best in the world and chilli boy is not far off him - why waste this talent? smit has been to a worldcup and won it - he will be valuable with advise and technical support - he has a lot of experience to share and has strong leadership and he gets on well with pdv and the players.

  • BlueRaven - 2011-08-15 10:32

    Damn! Should have known we will never be that lucky to be rid of Johnny boy.

  • Greg - 2011-08-15 11:04

    Danie was terrible! and should not be in the side with the other talent available. Replace with Deysel. Beast ran 97 metres! We mostly lost the game through Aussies offloads and our fitness. Butch and Francois missed 4 tackles. Lambie for fullback.

  • sopdrol - 2011-08-15 12:51

    john smit beste hakker en kaptein ooit! nooit weer sal ons so leier sien nie. what a player!!!

  • Rugganut - 2011-08-15 14:05

    I am heartened by the fact that we managed to subdue such a potent attacking side (Oz), especially after how poor our defence has been since the last tri-nations tournament, and lament the 2 occasions we did not have the composure to score a try. Besides all of the other points made by most bloggers (Smit should NOT play prop; Danie should be back up lock as he is too slow at flanker and for a full 80min; Frans Steyn is slightly over-weight and sluggish; Brussouw should play full 80min, once fit; Spies played much better; most had not played for 7 weeks and some for over a year, etc), Danie's attendance at the breakdowns was less than any other forward; Bismarck should DEFINITELY START rather than Smit (because when matches are close, you need Smit’s experience in the closing minutes of a match); our missed tackle count was much higher than that of the Aussies (John, Danie, James, JP and Spies being the worst culprits...their tackled/missed tackles percentage was higher than the rest); our offloading in the tackles must become a priority and increase; our forwards will have a harder edge to them with the likes of Skalk, Alberts and Juan (although I think including him in the RWC squad without any matches under his belt is a gamble) as we need their aggression to punch holes into the defence and create gaps for supporting runners; our defensive structure has improved dramatically (and was only let down by the few mentioned above) and increase the amount of supporting runners

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