Smit banking on experience

2011-10-07 11:46

Wellington - South Africa's bid to defend their Rugby World Cup title faces its sternest test yet when they meet old Tri-Nations foes Australia in the quarter-finals on Sunday.

The way the draw was made, the Springboks ought to have been playing Ireland. But the Irish pulled off a shock 15-6 pool victory over the Wallabies to finish atop their group and avoid the mighty South Africans.

The Springboks are oozing experience and the team named to play Australia, the only other side to win the World Cup twice, is the most experienced ever, featuring 836 caps, surpassing the previous record of 815 posted against Wales in the team's opening match of this tournament.

South Africa's starting XV, skippered from hooker by John Smit, includes eight players who started the 2007 World Cup final, with a further three on the bench.

Only fullback Pat Lambie, flyhalf Morne 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.

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

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

Bok coach Peter de Villiers, who is without the injured Bakkies Botha and Frans Steyn, said Australia were "pretty much the favourites" after having beaten the Springboks in their last four encounters.

"They are at the moment Tri-Nations champions. 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."

Australian playmaker Quade Cooper, heralded for his skill levels but quickly maligned if his daring fails, has vowed not to go into his shell come Sunday's match.

"If we part with any of our ability or confidence we have in what we do, I'm sure that will work as an advantage for the opposition," said Cooper.

"We don't want to go into our shells."

Cooper said the Springboks also had flair in their backline thanks to the likes of Bryan Habana, Lambie and Francois Hougaard.

"If they can get the ball out wide, they've got guys with a lot of ability," he said, adding, however, that the battle would be won up front.

"Physicality is the first place you've got to start. They're a very big side, very passionate.

"If we can match them physically the game will be a very tough occasion but one that hopefully we can come out on the right end of."

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  • Johnny-BB - 2011-10-07 12:02

    .....grandpa Smit weak-link in Protea-team.... ...and there are many .... .......Protea-scrum will be in reverse whole game.... don't win the World Cup with a bunch of ou toppies...!!... ....Go All Blacks...!!!

      Bellakanoose - 2011-10-07 12:04

      Dude, you guys at Sport24 must grow-up and stop commenting on your own articles! Get a real job!

      Uber1 - 2011-10-07 12:07

      change your name to copy, paste.

      shocked - 2011-10-07 12:17

      I am not surprised the Proteas would loose the scrum, especially since they are the CRICKET team!

      Grunk - 2011-10-07 12:47

      I have a horrible feeling that this is going to be called Smit's Last Stand. Custer's massacre emanated primarily from not heeding the basics of campaign command and underestimating the skills and cunning of the enemy. The repeats of this are prevalent throughout history.

      Theo - 2011-10-07 13:08

      Johnny, I agree with you that Smit should not be on the field, in fact he should not be in the team, however I'm still going to be rooting for the Bokke, and let us hope we scrape by .Let us hope that when we win this game we learn from this experience , whatever that may be .

      HondaTypeR - 2011-10-07 13:47

      Johnny-BB , your mom looked really nice in my Springbok top this morning ;-)

      joep - 2011-10-07 14:41

      Johnny-BB, ou toppies is genoeg om julle te verniel. Hulle wys net 'n replika Web Ellis beker by die WB want die real Mc Gayver het sommer hier gebly. Bok-bok-staan-styf en die Az's en AB's gaan kry op hul lyf.

  • DeonL - 2011-10-07 12:10

    Experience helped Ireland beating Oz, hopefully it will be enough for us too.

      Kuppy - 2011-10-07 14:24

      Whats the use of experience if you don't have enough gas in the tank against a young team.

      The Patriot - 2011-10-07 14:36

      good question, well just have to ask the poms when they won the RWC.

  • Brainbow - 2011-10-07 12:26

    Let's play!!!

  • Anneleen - 2011-10-07 12:51

    The Bok bank account is filled with experience-yes-and it is going to generate and share interest! Go Bokke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lida - 2011-10-07 13:49

    Bokke now the test is here. We will be glued to the tv and hoot for you all. Go Bokke Go..............

  • aartappelkop - 2011-10-07 13:51

    836 caps = xxx winning caps + yyy loosing caps? Why always count loosing caps as well? What does that proof? How proficient the team is in loosing? Yawn...

  • The Rob - 2011-10-07 14:05

    I wish some of you would go onto other websites and see how they post comments on articles. Please go to ( and see how they debate articles and the upcoming games. I'm embarrassed by some of the idiotic comments that people post on here, notably the drivel from "those-who-don't-belong-anywhere" chief cock, maori and johnson dd. Then there are people who still feel the Boks will fail because of selections. Get over it folks, the team is chosen! There are some good rugby brains over there to make sure we're on the right track so forget about who should be first choice hooker or scrumhalf. (what's with these Aussies and Kiwis with their five eighths crap???!!!) All that's left to do now is support the team on Sunday. Go Bokke and make us proud!

      Maori - 2011-10-07 14:57


      Bert Pajou - 2011-10-07 21:35

      My friend, don't make them wise, lest they foul that up too.

  • Pennyformy.. - 2011-10-07 14:08

    Smit must not start BUT my bigger worry is that P-Divvy is so hell-bent on having him in the team that he's going to move him to prop when Bismarck comes on ... why else no Beast!?

      Rugganut - 2011-10-07 15:43

      No. That is why CJ is on the bench to cover both prop positions

  • Barry Edwards - 2011-10-07 18:02 Captain. We are with you 1000 %

      Christo - 2011-10-07 18:47

      If he loses the game for u u going to say.Captain why Captain.

  • Christo - 2011-10-07 19:39

    Oupa u got to mix experience with youth.Who is going to catch cooper and wigenia.Not u.

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