Smit back to lead Boks

2011-10-05 20:17

Wellington - John Smit will captain the Springboks against Australia in a World Cup quarter-final here on Sunday, but lock Bakkies Botha misses out after injuring himself in training.

Smit is one of three changes to the team that beat Samoa in the final pool match, the captain replacing Bismarck du Plessis, while Gurthro Steenkamp comes in at loosehead prop for Tendai Mtawarira, who drops out of the squad.

The backline shows only one change, Jean de Villiers named as centre in place of the injured Frans Steyn.

The team is the most experienced Springbok team ever, featuring 836 caps, surpassing the previous record of 815 posted against Wales in the team's opening match.

The starting XV includes eight players who started the 2007 World Cup final, with a further three on the bench.

Only fullback Pat Lambie, flyhalf Morné Steyn and flanker Heinrich Brussow of the starting team were not involved in 2007, while Pierre Spies was originally selected but had to withdraw through illness.

But Botha missed out on the chance to get his World Cup campaign back on the road, landing nastily in training on Wednesday.

"It was the worst part of my day yesterday," coach Peter de Villiers said. "At the first lineout he injured himself again. He landed badly, and his achilles flamed up again.

"It was a sad day for myself and for Bakkies. It might mean that his tournament is over."

De Villiers changed his usual split of five forwards and two backs on the bench to include three backs as extra cover for winger JP Pietersen, who's also been battling injury.

"JP's not 100 percent as yet, but we give him all the time we can to prove his fitness and we just hope he'll get through," De Villiers said.

"JP knows the system so well and the guys inside him know him so well, it would be good if he came through."

Captain Smit added: "It's certainly quite an experienced team but that only really counts once the business is done on Sunday.

"We have to make sure we take our experiences throughout the World Cup and pressure games and hopefully use it."

Despite being hit by some injuries, including to long-distance penalty kicker Frans Steyn, De Villiers expressed his satisfaction with his selection.

"Other teams have been hit harder than we've been. We've had some severe blows with some players we'd love to have available going into this phase but you make use of what life offers you," he said.

"And at this moment I'm very happy with what I've got.

"The players are all capable of playing good rugby. We've got a team of world-class players, we've got world-class leaders, we've got everything we want.

"I know what I want to achieve out of this game with my team and the team know what we want to achieve because we had long discussions around it.

"They understand what the job is and they will go out there and try to achieve what we can achieve."

De Villiers said that Australia were "pretty much the favourites" after having beaten the Springboks in their last four encounters.

"They are at the moment Tri-Nations champions," he said. "We know they are a very dangerous rugby team.

"They were, for nine or 10 months, number two on the world rankings because of the way they play the game.

"They are confrontational in their forwards and get it right for most of the game. They never, never give up.

"And then their exciting backs, if you give them a sniff or space or the ball, they will run and take you to pieces."

He added: "It's hard to sit down and analyse a team like Australia and try to find a weak spot, it's really tough. Because we couldn't find one, we had to concentrate on what we want to do."


South Africa: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Danie Rossouw, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Gurthro Steenkamp

Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Willem Alberts, 19 Francois Louw, 20 Francois Hougaard, 21 Butch James, 22 Gio Aplon




  • darren - 2011-10-05 20:23

    I would prefer Alberts and James in place of Steyn and Spies

      ObieKonobie - 2011-10-05 20:28

      Alberts yes, but we need Morne's boot, especially if it's a rain soaked test. Bokke 4 Life!

      genisus - 2011-10-05 20:37

      @ObieKonobie... Morne must stay but Butchy must replace JDV at 12.. protect that inside channel and give kicking option off 10 and 12. (didnt read darrens comment properly before replying) However, Im a great JDV fan so hope he can have his eventual moment of RWC glory... not like he hasnt waited long enough for it.

      Yoni - 2011-10-05 20:46

      If I was Bismarck I'd be seething. He probably can't wait to see the back of him. Having Smit in the team is a big mistake, in the league of Mallett clinging on to Skinstad, or Straeuli insisting on Krige.

      The Rob - 2011-10-05 21:52

      Yoni and Kent, please go onto a site where you might know something, Video games or drag racing perhaps. This is an adult blog site - childrens' comments take up space and annoy the grown-ups.

      Henk - 2011-10-05 22:11

      Boks will win!

      Jarhead - 2011-10-06 02:42

      This is a very good team!! Even though I believe FS is much better on 12 than JDV, JDV is very experienced and I think the guys will beat the ozzies!! It`s gonna be a cracker and will prop only be decided in the last 5min but I back the Boks all the way!! For all the negative ppl out there, it doesn`t matter who is in the starting 15, they need all our support, so stop your crap and get behind our boys!!

  • Boks4life - 2011-10-05 20:25

    Go bokke !!!!

  • Zab Juda - 2011-10-05 20:27

    The more things change the more they stay the same...

  • slg - 2011-10-05 20:28

    Geez, no Bakkies. That's hard to understand against Australia. I think the coach is looking ahead too soon, saving him for NZ.

      rockurassoff - 2011-10-06 07:33

      slg - Bakkies is injured and will not play for the remainder of the world cup :-(

      Sharkie-fan - 2011-10-06 08:59

      Bakkies will unfortunately be back in SA tomorrow. He injured himself at training yesterday...different injury to before

  • lester.hoffman - 2011-10-05 20:28

    i am really looking forward to this experienced side thrashing the daylights out of those conceited matilda singing wannabees on sunday! Bokke, we are supporting u all the way!!

      aman - 2011-10-05 20:56

      I think we all do but don't share your confidence.

  • grod - 2011-10-05 20:28

    Best team under the circumstances with a good bench GOOOOO BOKKE!!!!

  • BakkieB - 2011-10-05 20:30

    Psssst.....John. We don't need you

  • Sir Eidolon - 2011-10-05 20:33

    Good luck, Bokke. Unfortunately our backline will be toothless now that Jean is back :(

      Punter - 2011-10-05 20:41

      JdV is brillant YES so is FS but JF never got any ball as FS refuses to pass with JdV JF will destroy the aussies GO BOKKE

      Yoni - 2011-10-05 21:00

      True, Jean is an obstacle rather than an advantage, just like John. Just another pansy from Province who's more concerned about his hairstyle than anything else. If the Proteas win this one it'll be despite the De Villiers's (Peter and Jean) and not thanks to them!

      Bootman - 2011-10-05 21:45

      Yoni I think I will paint my house tomorrow and watch the paint dry. It will surely be more interesting than your comments.

      kosie - 2011-10-06 13:51

      @ punter: so if fs never passed the ball how come we scored so many tries, you got it backwards my friend it is crashball jdv that doens't pass, he is becoming like wynand olivier, have you ever heard the commenrty when WO plays, its like this. fdp get the ball swings wide to MS. MS steyn swings to WO, and WO, WO, WO, WO, and here comes the forwards they clean out the ball WO did not cross the advantage line, fdp gathers swings wide to MS. MS steyn swings to WO, and WO, WO, WO, WO, and here comes the forwards they clean out the ball WO did not cross the advantage line, fdp gathers swings wide to MS. MS steyn swings to WO, and WO, WO, WO, WO, and here comes the forwards they clean out the ball WO did not cross the advantage line, fdp gathers and kicks the possesion away

  • Hardus Steyn - 2011-10-05 20:36

    mmm - no bakkie no beast - not a bad team still!

  • rosemarie - 2011-10-05 20:36

    John is just something else - useless and he is going to cost us John is a selfish and delusional character Pity about Frans Jean is a revolving door - butch would be much better option

      Really Now - 2011-10-05 20:49

      "useless and he is going to cost us" Everybody (except PdeV and Smit himself) agrees with you there!

      The Rob - 2011-10-05 22:07

      Actually, "everybody" does not agree with rosemarie, including me. John Smit will make a pretty decent contribution on Sunday and he throws the ball in straighter than Bismarck. He also captains the team which Victor can't seem to do too well. Fortunately the coaches and managers make the selections and not the public, most of whom are quite fickle regarding selections. It's a solid, excellent team and bench. Wallabies will be tough but we really should get past them.

      DeltaBravo - 2011-10-05 22:30

      @Rob. Spot on brother. At last, reason amid the confusion!!!!! Might be a cliche but if we dominate up front then we should win.

      Justin - 2011-10-06 07:25

      @Rosemarie - im guessing all the thumbs down mean you are WRONG. @ Really Now - clearly you are wrong too. Pull your heads out your butts and see that Smit is necessary in the team! He is, in fact playing really well lately, has gained mobility and is doing really well in the scrums (no need to mention his dominance in the line outs). You cant compare Bismark and John - they are 2 different types of players. But they each play their game well. Bismark must wait his turn, and keep quiet - because I shudder to think what this team will fall to without Smit - we have no captain who isn't injured all the time and who has been groomed to take over captaincy. Do not underestimate the need and strength of a good captain.

      cliff.fagan - 2011-10-06 08:30

      Sorry Rosemarie, but I hugely disagree, on Friday against the samoan's I realised how important John is to this team. Matfield was not even present and I got the feeling the guys needed a leader on the field. I am a Bismark fan, but I could not wait for Smit to get on the field, altho it not for long. But I felt the team really needed him. When he ran on the whole pub I was on cheered, because they realised that the team needed him there and besides nobody cheers for someone who is useless......he is of huge value and we really need him on the field.

      SmitSupporte - 2011-10-06 14:22

      Ag no Rosemarie ... there you go embarrassing yourself again! Very few people agree with you .... and even fewer who know anything about rugby. Samoa game was case in point! We needed John then and we need him now ..... don't kid yourself to the contrary!

  • ChumScrubber - 2011-10-05 20:39

    No Beast or Bakkies? And John starting ahead of Bissie? Eish, I see three mistakes here - I hope they pull it off!

  • Staalbal - 2011-10-05 20:40

    Where the hell is Bakkies?

      Sharkie-fan - 2011-10-06 09:04

      Bakkies will unfortunately be back in SA tomorrow. He injured himself at training yesterday...different injury to before

      Howzitekse - 2011-10-06 09:42

      Bakkies is where he is 80% of the time - injured.

  • HendrikAfrika - 2011-10-05 20:45

    An excellent bench, the best players are there. If snorre plays his cards right with making changes from the bench when needed we are going to send the Wallabies back to their outback to figure out what happened to them. I look forward to the game. Just hope we do not fall to far behind before Smit and Spies are replaced.

  • pants - 2011-10-05 21:21

    it has worked for us to be able to chase games against weaker opposition, The other teams are also now aware what impact the bench has, that much easier to negate. Start with the best 15.

  • Neutralist - 2011-10-05 22:48

    Something gives me a feeling Bissie is going to put in a man of the match performance if he gets the chance because he is going to be fuming...big time

  • shocked - 2011-10-06 06:13

    I am willing to bet everyone of you spineless jellies out there who are critisizing our captain now were singing his praises when we won the last world cup and will be doing it again when we win this year. So man up take view and stick to it because i would love to hear people try and complain after he has led us to victory again! He might not be the best hooker any more but he is a great captain who knows how to unite and bring the best out of a team, sometimes that is more valuable than just been the best hooker!

      Theo - 2011-10-06 07:41

      It is impossible to unite a team when the best hooker is sidelined, so that Smit can play. In other words we are only playing with 14 players when Smit is on the field. All the fans are questioning is that Bismarck should start and Smit can come on at the end.

      The Hock - 2011-10-06 08:04

      Agreed.... I have in the past also criticised Smit but no one can deny that he is coming back into form, he's still a great captain and his attitude has been stellar! I have boundless respect for the man. Bok fans have been much too harsh on him, but that is mostly because his replacement is having a great year. In fact, as much as I'm fine with Smit starting, part of me also hopes that they bring on Bismarck in the 60th minute - he is fantastic off the bench, deserves some game time, and might inject some much-needed energy.

      Sharkie-fan - 2011-10-06 08:34

      He's doing ok now as captain cos he's had 4 years to rest...SA can't just be good at World Cups and not inbetween. That's why All Blacks are still top of the rank. I have respect for Smit but we need the best player on the field. Bismarck has the energy to play a full 80 minutes too. "They are confrontational in their forwards and get it right for most of the game"...if this is so, then why do we have no Beast at all and Smit in place of Bismarck (who is very confrontational)?

      Travis - 2011-10-06 08:36

      I think that the move is correct. Smit and Bissie are two different players. Smit is NOT an impact player. He is a brilliant scrummager, better at lineout time, and better in the tight phases. Bissie is brilliant in the loose, and I think Smit's role (ignoring his brilliant captaincy, which I think is irreplaceable) is to dominate the opposition in the tight and wear them down. Bissie then can put the mail in the coffin by running over them. I have been a Smit supporter throughout, and I am delighted that his form is back up there where we need it to be. Lets unite behind the boys - and hope they can bring it home.

      Hope-101 - 2011-10-06 13:26

      Sorry Shocked, but I cannot agree with you. The Bokke was in trouble with John ON the field without exception during THIS world cup and Tri-Nations. Bismark, like Hougaardt, change the momentum of the game which suits our game much better. Having said that, I have to mention that Bismark was brilliant in the Samoa game. No disrespect to John, but he just don't cut it any longer. From now on, its WIN, or you are out, so we cannot take any chances with players like John on the field. I believe that we will be behind at halftime, on Sunday and after that, Bismark will come onto the field to save the day if it is not too late already.

  • Duncan Gohl - 2011-10-06 06:34

    What's the bet that if they did not get full pay when injured………………..

  • Claude - 2011-10-06 06:37

    John Smit has got so slow that he can't even get the ball into the lineout quick enough.

      Brannas - 2011-10-06 07:33

      The next time Smit will lead the Boks will be up the steps of the airplane that will fly them home.

      Jeff - 2011-10-06 08:15

      Brannas you got it spot on! Don't forget to look at the cup in their hands. It is a gold cup and it is called the Webb Ellis cup.........

      Hope-101 - 2011-10-06 12:51

      Nou ja Brannas, ek het nie gedink ek sal maklik met jou saamstem nie....... maar ek dink jy kan net dalk reg wees in hierdie geval.

  • Theuns - 2011-10-06 07:54

    You do NOT start a world cup with doubtfull and injured players. The old scool took to many knocks to be performing at their best, hopefully their experience would make up for it, this is going to be a close game.As long as we win. Go bokke!!!!!

      Sharkie-fan - 2011-10-06 08:40

      Ya I agree. For instance, they know JP is not 100% but still put him in starting line up and Hougaard is on the logic!

  • Theuns - 2011-10-06 08:01

    A lot of international teams would have John Smit as their captain, he knows the importance of performing well and will lift his game, he is that kind of player. Bismark is going to make a huge impact when he comes on. Good luck to John Smit and the Bokke, hope you will put smiles on all our faces..!

  • Jeff - 2011-10-06 08:24

    I wish Smit and the rest all the luck. Bissie vs Smit will always be a discussion. Both of them plays different, they have different attitudes, different composure's. Smit has surprised me with this WC performance and it seems as if the plans of the Boks will finally pays off. Starting Smit for the first 60mins is strategy. However, I like both players and whatever team selection the management makes, I'll support it. Once again we have a good team on paper, we just have to combine the theory with the practical. It won't be easy, but I'm sure we'll take this one....... Go Bokke!!!!!!!!!

  • Gareth - 2011-10-06 09:10


  • Ryno - 2011-10-06 11:33

    Ha ha ha ha love this's great....but seriously is picked....Jean is still a great player, Butch should just keep the tackle low and we will cruise past the the end of the day we are all Bok supporters regardless who we support at province level.....Bokke by 8

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