Smit nervous ahead of QF

2011-10-03 10:51

Wellington - Springboks captain John Smit just came out and said what other teams at the Rugby World Cup may be thinking but don't like to admit: that in the knockout rounds the stakes get higher, the nerves tighter and the pressure a whole lot harder to handle.

Australia and Wales had their game faces on when addressing the same question on Monday, deflecting it with practiced verbal fends: that the quarterfinals are "just another game," that they've been in similar situations before.

But Smit would have no pretence. The captain of the reigning world champions, a 110-test veteran, is nervous and not scared to admit it.

"One thing's for sure. The real World Cup starts this week. It's definitely a tournament that's set up in two stages," Smit said.

"This is the stage where every game is do or die so it's a different level completely.

"You can see it and feel it in the way the boys are feeling, you can see it and feel it in how important these playoffs are going to be."

South Africa face Australia, the only other two-time World Cup champion, in its quarterfinal match in Wellington on Sunday and Smit, for all his fore-knowledge of the Wallabies and his long experience, can't shake the nerves the occasion inevitably brings.

"I've been trying to get rid of those nerves for 110 tests now but they don't go anywhere," Smit said.

"Pressure's what makes the game beautiful and what creates some special performances. Without those nerves I don't think you ever quite reach the top of the game.

"There will be nerves and I think some of the guys who haven't been around the World Cup will feel a different kind of vibe this week. It's really how you deal with it and how you use that to your advantage."

Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards told reporters that his players were inured to a certain degree to the pressure of knockout rugby by their experience of it in British and European competitions.

"It's just like a Heineken Cup situation where you have your group stages and then you're into a sudden-death situation, so our guys are used to that, as are the Irish lads."

Wales plays Ireland in its quarterfinal on Saturday and, while Edwards expects the match to be close, he isn't dwelling on issues of pressure or nerves.

"It's a 50-50 game," he said. "It's pretty hard to pick the winner. They are two teams that have run into a bit of form, relatively injury-free.

"The Irish, after being criticized for their pre-World Cup form, are obviously running into some very strong form themselves."

Australia captain James Horwill said his team had already been under pressure after losing to Ireland in pool play and was now used to that experience.

"After the Irish game, every game was a knockout game for us," Horwill said.

"We couldn't drop a game. The mindset is that we have to do everything in our power to win and that's what we're going to be doing this weekend."

Australia coaching co-ordinator David Nucifora said knockout matches demanded clear concentration and focus.

"The teams that lose concentration for a split second on the weekend are going to be the teams that are going home," he said. "I don't think it'll come down to much more than that.

"There'll be one or two opportunities to win this game on Sunday and the teams that are up for it and ready to take those chances will be the ones that'll be staying."

Smit said the results of pool matches played by the eight teams that have gone on to the quarterfinals may be irrelevant from now on. But the matches themselves were not, setting teams up for the high-pressure task they now face.

"If you've got this far you've done well," he said.

"You've been successful in your pool and those pools, especially for us, have been invaluable because we came in pretty undercooked into the tournament.

"So having the game time, being able to see what your combinations are like and seeing how players are able to get into form, that's been a big asset for us and I think it has also been for the other teams.

"Now, pretty much everyone's on the same level so the results of what's happened are probably irrelevant and put us all on the same footing, but I think the experience over the last four will be helpful for the eight teams that are through."

* Click HERE for the latest RWC odds on BET.CO.ZA


  • Kerr - 2011-10-03 11:10

    Boks by 6. Final: Boks vs Ireland. Cmon Boks, DO THE BUSINESS!!

      Jack Turner - 2011-10-03 11:23

      At least you're patriotic.Wish I had your confidence.You are thinking with your heart, and not with your head. Your head has got to favour the All Blacks.

      Kerr - 2011-10-03 11:30

      @ Jack T: Dude, the AB's lost a major cog in Dan Carter. We last Frans Steyn, but we have Jean DV coming in his place, hence Frans Steyn's loss has been hedged. However, unfortunately, Colin Slade just is not on the same level as DC, and other teams know they can knock over the AB's with DC, but they are less intimidating without DC. So no, I dont believe Im only thinking with my heart, my head says the same thing. Cmon Boks, DO THE BUSINESS!!!

      jase880 - 2011-10-03 11:44

      My head favoured the All Blacks until DC went out. Now I think they are even odds with SA in a one-on-one match, barring the fact that those odds increase for SA having to beat both Oz and NZ to go through. So based on that - NZ are favorites because easier route right now. But if it comes down to a semi SA vs NZ - 50:50.

      Green Oaks - 2011-10-03 11:53

      Must say the NZ people are in pieces with Carter being injured. I have always said the AB are built around two players. DC and RM. If any of them get injured, they lose 40% of their presence on the field. Bokke to beat Ausies. By the way, where is that JK character with his "France by 8" chirps

      Grey B - 2011-10-03 13:05

      Agreed! Or Argentina vs French

      marco - 2011-10-03 13:50

      One area of weakness and vulnerability for Australia is in their scrums especially at their tighthead props with serious technical issues when it comes to their binding under pressure.Whoever referee's this should be aware of that and South Africa would wanna target that for potentially a 3 or 5+2point penalty.Recent performances by Francois Hougaard,the now goner Francois Steyn,Bismarck du Plessis and Heinrich Brussow,shows that the Boks do have the X-factor compared to Australia and New Zealand.Even our old stalwarts like Danie Rossouw,Schalk Burger and Jacques Fourie are hitting fine form and surely look world class.Only problem is that PDV and co may have pencilled in Francois Hougaard,Bismarck du Plessis and Danie Rossouw on the bench for the quarter-finals and that's a major worry. One of many ways the Boks should beat Australia I reckon is by creating the maximum impact in the first half of a game.That means starting the guys they want to put on the bench in Francois Hougaard,Bismarck du Plessis and Danie Rossouw.The Boks are at their best with their noses infront first off,and with these players we have our best chance of getting ahead by scoring points.You know you can always bring on Fourie du Preez, John Smit and Bakkies Botha to close out the game then.The Springboks have the players in their squad to defend the trophy successfully so good luck to them.

      Steyts - 2011-10-03 19:07

      @ Green oaks - Even with DC I think we would have beaten the kiwi's. I think the pressure on them is too much and they are way too overstressed!! @ Kerr - I don't think the Irish are gonna beat the Welsh!! The Welsh look good! Whatever way it goes that I think is going to be the best match of the quarters!!! Anyway, go bokke!!!!

  • Ya Beauty! - 2011-10-03 11:14

    Its all about experience from here is something you can't buy....Boks by 6

      call a spade - 2011-10-03 11:32

      With all the talk of "old players" now proven bull and quieted down this is where EXPERIENCE kicks in. Nerves is an advantage but to much can paralise you. And the Heineken Cup is not the WC. Our boys have done it twice so have been there. They will do it again. GOGOGOGO. Hammer them

  • Theo - 2011-10-03 11:18

    What about your fans , they are nervous when you run onto the field.

      Chief Kok - 2011-10-03 12:26

      He is nerves!!! Fact is, is he going to play??

  • Richard - 2011-10-03 11:26

    Mr Smit - you stay nervous - you stay watching with your blazer on.

      Johnny-BB - 2011-10-03 11:30

      ....genius PDV will again play grandpa Smit at hooker (and prop)... ......bye-bye world cup....

      frans.visserdsb - 2011-10-03 13:48

      We desperately needed Smiton the field in the second half against Samoa. The game had deteriorated into a very loose and unstructured match, and Victor had no idea how to tighten it up. We needed real leadershp on the field to calm things down, slow the game down, get our structures back... but the ref had other ideas. I rate John Smit as a great player, and an even better Captain. We can win the RWC with him at teh helm. This is where experience counts....

      James121 - 2011-10-03 15:02

      @richard, you may possibly have missed the blatant fact that Bismark shines as a replacement after JS and others has softened up the opposition. JS has had a v good World Cup.

  • Jonathan Le Roux - 2011-10-03 11:29

    I smell a Wallaby Waltzing back to the Outback come Sunday...nicely said John, put the pressure back on the Aussies. Keep it simple, get the win, take out the all Blacks and then send Ireland back. Then bring the cup back to SA!

  • Maori - 2011-10-03 11:33

    Smitty is nervous and the protea fans are arrogant! Bring it on! Go ALL BLACKS!!

      colin.dovey - 2011-10-03 11:37

      Dream on :-) Choker

      Johnny-BB - 2011-10-03 11:37

      ....Go All Blacks..!! ........Go All Blacks..!!!

      Mac - 2011-10-03 11:43

      Fingers stuck on your keyboard!

      oomtas - 2011-10-03 11:47

      awe dumb n dumber - the closest these 2 f aggits came to a rugby pitch is when they shook there pom poms

      The Rob - 2011-10-03 11:59

      Smit may be nervous but not as nervous as the black caps fans in NZ. You're the arrogant one maori, and your lack of respect for the best RWC team bar none highlights your paucity of knowledge and pathetic argumentative nature. You really don't know much about rugby at all do you? Just keen to get up SA supporters' noses with your primary school comments. Remember, the black caps have just one RWC trophy, but the Boks weren't there. When they came to SA as the rebel Cavaliers in the late eighties (albeit with only 70% of their RWC squad), the Boks smashed them. So, what I'm saying is: show the Boks some respect. They've been way, way better than your black caps at RWC time.

      Maori - 2011-10-03 12:02

      @Rob - explain to me why the proteas were not at the 87 tourney? Do not blame the All Blacks for that - Go ALL BLACKS!!! By the way, Smitty does not only look nervous, but also fatter!

      DeonL - 2011-10-03 12:05

      No one gave France a chance against NZ, the people were wrong twice, no one are giving the Pumas a chance, 1 bad game without Dan C and they can be out. Go Argentinia and Bokke!

      burtfred - 2011-10-03 12:47

      And Maori, explain to me why you call yourself by your race? Wanker.

      doug - 2011-10-03 12:54

      @ Maori, I see you ask why SA was not at the 87th WRC, we all know that was and you being an obvious All Black should be grateful we didn't make it or NZ would have a grand total of 0 - 3 wins for RWC when compared to SA!! Go Bokke!!!

      Jamba - 2011-10-03 13:10

      Best of luck, Maori. 1986 - SA 3-1 AB. I can sent you a DVD of those tests...With of without DC, the SPRINGBOKS have the edge! (And the team that will prove it!)

      Bigdaddynic - 2011-10-03 13:29

      W A N K E R....

      OZNOB - 2011-10-03 15:28

      shucks these ab supporters are really confused bunch that just because the bokke scored acouple of cricket like scores they think we sent our cricket side to the world cup . I am very happy for them to continue thinking that until we meet them in the semi's and then they will be in for a real shock

      Jean - 2011-10-03 18:18

      are we we arrogant just remember to tell mcaw if there is 10 minutes left vs Argentina and they trail by lets say 2 points and camped in Argentina's half you get 3 points for a drop goal, but then again can slade kick drop goals??????????

      Jean - 2011-10-03 18:21

      like that famous slogan at the 1991 world cup you aint champs until you've beaten the boks

  • Lida - 2011-10-03 11:36

    It is oke to be nervous. Shows that they do not underestimate the coming game. We did have the heaviest pool games and got through it. Pity about all the injuries. But we are South Africans and will show the Aussies this on Saturday. BOKKE we are behind you all

  • Mojojo - 2011-10-03 11:47

    @ Jack Turner. You right, the head will always say All Blacks, because Logic says All Blacks. They usually ranked number 1 for 90%+ of the time between World Cups. As a fan, I am still going with the Bokke though. My gut tells me that the winner of the SA v Aus game will be ther winner of the WC. Aus have ABs number this year.

      Maori - 2011-10-03 12:00

      You must be blinded by your loyalty! Cannot see any of the proteas or wannabees to beat the AB's on Eden Park after smashing the crap out of each other coming Sunday! Go ALL BLACKS!!

      Shakes - 2011-10-03 12:07

      @Maori...and you are blinded by your bitterness and hatred for the Boks.

      Johnny-BB - 2011-10-03 12:16

      .....Proteas 15 - 29 Wallabies..... ........Go All Blacks..!!!

      Shakes - 2011-10-03 12:32

      Whateva you want to call them, you are still commenting out of past bitterness. Why even bother? You make no difference to the SA landscape, your support of the All Blacks is irrelevent to them or SA. My question to you is what do you change about SA by supporting All Blacks???

      oomtas - 2011-10-03 14:06

      johnny and maoris mom is a sheep

  • Leighton - 2011-10-03 11:48

    Australia worry me! If we can beat them then we will win the World Cup. i dont think we fear the All Blacks. Bokke For Life!!! Klap Hulle!!!

  • Lafrasman - 2011-10-03 11:48

    See Bryce Lawrence in charge of our game, not sure what to make of it....

  • Staalbal - 2011-10-03 12:01

    What rubbish about the heineken cup. The CC, Super Rugby and most competitions around the world have got knockout games. This game will be tough, but I believe the Bokke can do it. If they play structured, dominate the set pieces, look after the ball in the rucks and tackle like only the Bokke can, then they will do it. GO BOKKE!!!!!!

      Johnny-BB - 2011-10-03 13:29

      ...the Proteas and genius PDV have only one game-plan... ..kick and chase (and give possesion away)

      Jacques Ackermann - 2011-10-03 13:40

      strange i dont see anything about how we are going to attack the aussie boy lovers/fairy's. we need to attack them

      Sakkie Van de Spuy - 2011-10-03 16:11

      The proteas is playing the All Coloureds, during the Cape white wine festival (drink as much as you can). It will be right after the front tooth spitting contest at 11, behind the Grass Court Shebeen.

  • macrini - 2011-10-03 12:03

    Just realised it's North vs. South. South looking strongest at this point. Wales cruising under radar, Ireland might be unpleasantly surprised come Saturday. Winner will beat winner of other semi to make final. As for the southern draw, All Blacks over Argentina by decent margin. Undecided at this point as to who will win Aus vs. SA. In a rare concession, I will say that I'd prefer the Blacks play Aussie in the semi, Boks game plan has me just a little bit worried in light of recent injuries.

  • SA-FAN - 2011-10-03 12:08

    One thing is for sure if we do get through this world cup unbeaten, it will be the greatest achievement up to now. Through physical pool games and then playing the other two top teams on the rankings one after the other. Will be very special if they can pull that one of!

  • Chief Kok - 2011-10-03 12:28

    Saffa-cat, Bloubal, lloyd, jk. etc. did not pay their internet bill. Want a loan???

      Maori - 2011-10-03 12:37


  • Martin - 2011-10-03 12:37

    Johnny BB and Moari - Don't you two chops know that the Proteas are South Africa's Cricket side and the Sprinboks are our rugby side. Catch a wake up you choppers!!!

      hughfh - 2011-10-03 12:48

      I made a simlar comment earlier but it was deleted. Maybe because I combined the words "dumb" and another word for "donkey" when referring to one of them. I want them to give me a link to an official website that refers to the "Proteas" rugby team and how well they have fared in the RWC this year. Otherwise they are either disrespectful towards rugby, ignorant or childish. Or perhaps all three. Even their beloved All Blacks (that is their name, right guys?) have the decency to refer to South Africa's team as the Springboks.

      Maori - 2011-10-03 12:55

      What did you say about the proteas?

      Johnny-BB - 2011-10-03 13:23

      Martin, ...the Springbok was replaced with the Protea... your eyes... ....wakey, wakey....

      A1 - 2011-10-03 15:54

      @Maori, the Proteas will crush the maori landers in body, mind and soul!!! Oops sorry we have already done that, with one sweet little flick of the Joel Stransky boot, 16 years later and the maori landers are still reeling.

  • Theuns - 2011-10-03 12:43

    Play Spies at inside centre...!

  • Clarissa - 2011-10-03 12:47

    Nope, Boks in final against the Roses! Boks will nibble on their leaves for lunch!!

      Shakes - 2011-10-03 12:53

      @Maori, I'll ask again, what are you actually changing about SA by supporting All Blacks?

      GTG - 2011-10-03 15:03

      LOL - You gotta love the two ring raiders called Johnny-BB and Maori. It is very refreshing to have absolute proof that people without brain matter lives amongst us!!! BTW I heard their mothers are professional Mexican folk dancers!

  • Anneleen - 2011-10-03 13:01

    ...go Bokke...head and heart favours our men in green and gold...go Bokke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      SA-FAN - 2011-10-03 13:15

      Yes green and cold please not white!!! We will do better in green! :)

      Anneleen - 2011-10-03 13:26

      @SA-FAN...thanks for your comment! Yes please, bring back the green and gold jerseys!

  • OZNOB - 2011-10-03 13:08

    nerves and worries are great motivators to do something positive - the boks know what they have to do to win the game despite the ref - they have earned the right to play in the qf and now they are going to earn the right to playin the semis

  • Mabena.Tebogo - 2011-10-03 13:12

    Here is thought, How about we play Butch James at inside centre. In the History of the world cup, the world champs have always had an kicking inside centre. Jean De Villiers is brilliant, take nothing away from him, however I am concerned about his versatility. I also think Butch has his flaws notably his discipline and once was branded 'most thuggish rugby player' but I think that intimidates any opposition.

  • Watch Dog - 2011-10-03 13:14

    Why do you guys even bother to comment on the Maori. Wait for the semi final then they will have excuses like food poisoning again. That is if they get pass the Argies. Bokke will have to work hard, but will win this one. The Wallabies and ferns arevery nervous and extremely worried. The might of the BOKKE is coming. We are peaking at the right time and have them worked out. oooh i cant wait. Go BOKKE

  • Watch Dog - 2011-10-03 13:20

    Thank you John Smit for being the Captain you are. Thank you for being honest. Anyone that played some rugby at any level and understands the competitive nature will understand that there are some nerves involved. You are the CHOSEN ONE, the one to lead us to another world cup victory. There are only a few people not supporting you. The majority of real South Africans support you and the whole team. GO BOKKE

      Theo - 2011-10-03 13:28

      I want RSA to win , but the longer Smit plays on the field the higher is the probability that we will loose, those are the facts.

  • maree.bester - 2011-10-03 13:23

    My biggest wish at this point is that everyone commenting on John Smit's form on this page would quiet down a obviously know much more about rugby than everyone else. spare your very intelectual thoughts for after the world cup...... when john Smit or as you put it Grandpa Smit has won it for the 3 rd time for SA, succesfully defending the world cup for the first time and grabbing his second..... 110 tests do not count for nothing... yes bizzy is a great player but we have a winning formula and whatever we think otherwise is irrelevant... winning winning winning winning is all that matters and Smit and Bismarck is doing just that.. enjoy the rugby and stop complaining. we will win it.

      SA-FAN - 2011-10-03 13:35

      I agree with you you Maree, I do not think he is a better player at this point in time but his leadership is vital for us. Can't help think that our score would have been better if he was there for the whole second half and not just 1 minute.

      Kleinboet - 2011-10-03 14:46

      @maree.bester, I am no fan of John Smit, but once he was included into the squad I decided to shut up and support them all. Some of them are very lucky to be there but they are the only ones we have there. Besides, this squad is capable of winning us the world cup if they play their hearts out. In fact, any squad could only win the cup if everybody pulled his full weight. I will, therefore, support you and implore other Bok supporters who, like me, have certain preferences to give your full support to whoever gets picked. The Bokke cannot win alone - they need their supporters to carry them all the way!

  • Jacques Ackermann - 2011-10-03 13:52

    leadership cant be bought not can it be truly be measured. there is a lot of john smit bashing doing the round. just shows the lack of respect that there is. for anyone who doubts his leadership skills just look at the game against samoa. the boks looked out of sight and out of mind. with the morne turnstile steyn "kick the ball until i get neck spasms from looking into the floodlights for the ball all night long" game pattern. he commands the respect on and off the field from the players. the aussies on the other hand have no leadership and against the irish when the chips were down they were nowhere. that is what happens if you dont have strong leaders showing the way forward. his lineout skills in view are still better than bismarcks but bismarck is a demon in the lose play. after the world cup we cant maybe blood a new captain. maybe juan smith or someone but until its all over we must stand behind john and support him. our tactics in terms of how we approach the game will be the most important part. if we replay the welsh/samoa aimless bomb after bomb after bomb aerial lufftwaffe style then i cant see us piping the aussies at the posts. unless they have a complete brainfreeze.

      Maori - 2011-10-03 13:56

      You do not get extra points on the score board for leadership!

  • Werner - 2011-10-03 15:33

    Okay . . . heated debate I see... In the event of such debates one can only ask yourself one question? What is the stats of the RWC?? Sorry to Maori. . . go look at it. Is he commenting on the same article as the one I just read? Proteas? Is that not our Cricket side? Aussies looking good, but think the BOKKE can pull it of by 3... Next week All Blacks different game... This is the best RWC in a long time, seeing the bokke will have played in what to my opinion the toughest pool and the Knock outs games ever. If we win this RWC we would be deserving of the number one spot. Lekker bokke. MY BLOOD IS GREEN!!!!!

      Maori - 2011-10-03 15:53

      So, you are suggesting that, on your own logic, that the proteas are not deserving of the 2007 world cup! LOL

      Sakkie Van de Spuy - 2011-10-03 16:19

      The proteas is playing the All Coloureds, during the Cape white wine festival (drink as much as you can). It will be right after the, front tooth spitting contest at 11, behind the Grass Court Shebeen. Maori, will be the master of the circus, dressed in pink and yellow. The colours of his favourite rugby team, the All Coloureds. The Springboks are deserving winners of the 1987, 1991, 1995 and 2007 World Cups. We lost it in 1999 fair and square to the Ausies (but still managed to beat the AC's in 3rd playoff) and 2003, the English was actually good for a change.

  • A1 - 2011-10-03 15:57

    @Mauwi, oops Mauri. The Proteas will crush the maori landers in body, mind and soul!!! Oops sorry we have already done that, with one sweet little flick of the Joel Stransky boot, 16 years later and the maori landers are still reeling.

      Marco - 2011-10-03 16:12

      Maori - win 2 world cups and then stick your neck out the way you are doing on this post. Until then, check the scoreboard num-nuts and wind your neck in ....

  • RuggerBugger - 2011-10-04 09:13

    Smit - you should bloody be nervous! without you we'd be sailing through.

  • Eugene - 2011-10-04 12:27

    Boks v England final? Both teams have already shown the steel required to pip opposition. Close games but both teams to steal the wins right to the finals.

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