Smit 'the best in the world'

2011-09-03 07:52

Wellington - South Africa coach Peter de Villiers did little to dampen the bubbling selection issues surrounding his team when he faced the media for the first time after the Springboks arrived in New Zealand seeking to defend the rugby World Cup.

Click to BUY your very own Springbok RWC jersey

De Villiers' selection dilemma surrounds hooker John Smit, an inspirational leader and arguably the world's best test captain, but whose general play has been overshadowed by his Sharks' team mate Bismarck du Plessis.

To accommodate both players, de Villiers has resorted to selecting Smit at tighthead prop, which has depowered the Springboks' scrum to the extent they were shunted around by an Australian pack that is improving but nowhere nearly world-beating in their recent Tri-nations clash in Durban.

De Villiers, however, said as far as he was concerned there were no selection issues when he was asked at the team hotel in Wellington on Saturday about where Smit would play during the tournament, which they begin on Sept. 11 against Wales.

"John is the best hooker in world rugby at the moment so we will be very sensible when we make selections," de Villiers said tersely.

Smit, who was sitting beside his coach, managed to tactfully defuse the tension.

"When I hear the coach talking like that it reminds me of my wife. She thinks I'm the most handsome guy in the world," he said to laughter from the assembled media.

"Obviously I prefer hooker but really the last couple of years I have been playing wherever it is needed for the team."

The Springboks arrived in New Zealand's capital in the early hours of Saturday and were met by about 150 supporters at the airport after a long journey from South Africa, where tens of thousands had gathered to see them off.

"It was an incredible sendoff, something I have never seen in my life," Smit said. "And the other side was impressive. A beautiful way to start and lots of expectation and I'm excited about what the next couple of weeks can bring."

The Springboks enter the tournament looking to become the first side to win the Webb Ellis trophy for the third time, but did not have a good build-up, choosing to rest more than 20 players from their first two tests in the Tri-Nations.

A second-string side was thrashed by Australia and New Zealand before the strongest combination lost to Australia 14-9 in Durban and beat a second-string All Blacks side 18-5 in Port Elizabeth.

De Villiers, however, was not concerned about their second successive last-placed finish in the southern hemisphere's annual competition, preferring to look ahead to their quest for the World Cup in Pool D against Wales, Namibia, Samoa and Fiji.

"I don't know if you can call it a mixed buildup," he said.

"For some people victory and defeat is everything in life, but for us our structures that we put in place was very important -- the moment is very important as it is how people will react.

"But I'm very happy on the way we have built this whole thing up.

"For us it's about the World Cup. To come here, to enjoy New Zealand, enjoy the World Cup, enjoy the rugby and make our people proud."


  • Jay - 2011-09-03 08:02

    GO BOKKE, I for one am firmly behind you. Although i am pretty sure some people are going to rant over the Bizzie Smity saga>>>>>Here it comes.........

      Drewka - 2011-09-03 08:27

      Our chances with Smit are far better than without him. Bissie is in great form, but if he and his brother got a bad game, things would become difficult, but John could add some consistency. His very good in the tight phases, and that’s what test rugby is all about. Keeping it tight, playing for territory and be clinical. John’s the man in my opinion.

      mba - 2011-09-03 09:25

      Agreed. To say Smit is the 4th or 5th best is just plain crap. Being a great hooker is more than just performing in the scrum. It's what you do out of the scrum as well. Smit is an incredibly hard worker in the loose and a demon line out thrower. When you have New Zealand charging in your 22 you would want Smit with the line out ball 99 out of 100......

      Taetjo - 2011-09-03 10:45

      Peter de Villiers must have had some good training in politics. He sounds like one every time he rants.

      sipholess - 2011-09-03 13:09

      I think both Div and Mrs Smit are on drugs !

      AA - 2011-09-03 17:34

      Agreed Jay. You never drop a Captain like Smit right before the World Cup. Look what happened when Tiechman was dropped for Skinstad, or even when Pienaar was dropped after the 1995 World Cup. Matfield is a good captain but i think Smit is needed now.

  • AbsoluteZero - 2011-09-03 08:19

    I want some of whatever Schnoor has been smoking! Smit is probably only the 4th or 5th best hooker in SA at the moment. That said, Francois Pienaar was by no means still the best number 6 in the country in 1995, but we needed his leadership. Hopefully this time round, the guys can carry John, because, again, like 1995 it may be that leadership that makes the diference. GO BOKKE!

      Facts - 2011-09-03 09:00

      I hope our players trained enough weights to be able to cary big John around. The advantage of Bismarck Du Plessis is that he can carry himself.

  • Sbuda - 2011-09-03 08:26

    Peter de Villiers just cannot resist outdoing his never ending stupidity. It must be hard for Bisy to accept being second best to a guy whose fourth best to him. Yet this mogoe still rubs it in him. What's wrong with this guy? oops wrong question, actually what's right with this guy?

      Facts - 2011-09-03 08:52

      @Sbuda. My friend I wish I had the answer for you but I am afraid nobody in the world will be able to do that. I knew it wouldn't take more than 10 minutes after arrival in NZ before Pdv makes a fool of himself again. May I have one request as a Bok supporter and this is to keep this idiot away from the media for as often as possible.

  • wayneoK - 2011-09-03 08:32

    I think John will work hard. He has one last hurdle and then he can rest.

      assan - 2011-09-03 08:38

      Her reached that hurdle 2 years ago.

  • @ - 2011-09-03 08:38

    World cups are won on one or two penalties or drop goals... Who would we rather have on the park in a tight situation in a semi or final... the cool, calm, collected and experience John Smit...? Or the hot-headed, petulant, egotistical, give-away-three-or-four-penalties-a-game Bismarck Du Plessis...? Do the math...

      Neutralist - 2011-09-03 08:48

      Bismarck because John is more likely to slip off tackles. With that said, Smit has to be somewhere in those tight games.

      daspoort - 2011-09-03 09:15

      @, "cool, calm, collected and experience John Smit.." He did not look so cool, calm and collected behind the posts in the Springbok thumping by New Zealand in the Tri-Nations.

      Gungets Tuft - 2011-09-03 09:25

      Daspoort - you mean the Springbok C team in New Zealand. Please bud, go back to jukskei

      daspoort - 2011-09-03 13:52

      @Gungets Tuft. Even if we played an E team, Smit was the captain, and not once did he talk to guys behind the posts, get them together and motivate them. That is a captain's job even if you play a E team. So no bud, you need to wake up. Send me your address, I'll send you a copy of "Rugby for Dummies" free of charge

      Nonbeliever - 2011-09-03 18:39

      @ @ You make an idiot look good.

      Johan Potgieter - 2011-09-03 23:34

      @daspoort It sounds like you didn't even watch the game, go and look at it again. You can see Smit talking to the players plenty of times, what rubbish are you talking.

  • @ - 2011-09-03 08:43

    Also look at their overall game. Who is the best scrummage? Smit Who is more consistent with line-out throws? Smit Who is better in the loose? Du Plessis But if we can't win the set pieces we will always be under the whip in the loose. Lose our scrums and line-outs and Du Plessis won't have the ball to play with... I'd rate have Smit and win more set pieces and watch Smit in the loose where he is not that far behind Du Plessis anyway.

      daspoort - 2011-09-03 09:23

      @, you forgot to mention: Who is the best defender: Du Plessis John missed a lot of tackles during the Tri Nations. Defense wins World Cups. "...Smit in the loose where he is not that far behind Du Plessis anyway. " Uhmmm, in the loose doesn't mean standing around the breakdown and missing tackles. Smit is not even close to du Plessis in the loose.

      flat bier - 2011-09-03 09:52

      Who is the best leader?

      @ - 2011-09-03 10:35

      And leadership is not just about the 80 minutes on the filed... especially on tour or in a world cup... You need someone to keep the guys relaxed but focused between matches... not get sidetracked by the hullabaloo and still be committed to training... Everywhere they look in New Zealand is gonna be wall-to-wall All Black support... You need a leader who can cope with that... It is also a well-known fact that Bismarck Du Plessis is a divisive figure in the squad... he is not liked by the senior players and only tolerated because of his form... He has had punch-ups on the training field with his Sharks teammates and his selfish petulance was brought to the fore when he was subbed in the last game... If HE had the best interests of Bok rugby at heart he would wind his neck in and just play and do his talking on the field... After the world cup he will be number one and has at least another world cup to compete in as the main manne... BUt whenever he doesn't get his way he sulks... and behaves like a spoilt brat... Whenever there is trouble in Sharks or Bok rugby if you scratch below the surface you will find the Du Plessis brothers...

  • ZACommentator - 2011-09-03 08:47

    If Smity really wanted to do what's best for the team, he would have retired in 2009. He didn't. Move on and support the team.

  • Brannas - 2011-09-03 08:49

    "John is the best hooker in world rugby at the moment" , What are you smoking Div, he does not even count under the best 4 in SA, leave alone the world. John Smit is a washed out has been that should'nt be there at all.

  • Spanker - 2011-09-03 08:52

    Nice save

  • Ozman - 2011-09-03 09:05

    What an "ass"

  • Martin - 2011-09-03 09:10

    Jaaaaaaaa, boet...

  • BLAP - 2011-09-03 09:21

    If you keep on telling yourself Smit is the best hooker in world rugby then it's time you wake the F@#$ up!

  • kleosmith - 2011-09-03 09:26

    I suppose no one comprehends that tactics both on and off the field are just as important … it is very clear that this statement is an off field tactic - to complicate the team plans for the opposition. People stop being so naive and realise that there is a big plan here. Remember it was John Smit who told Jake White to pick Bismarck for the last world cup when Spies could not play and logic would have been to pick another loose forward...

  • theodore.kok - 2011-09-03 09:54

    only in your small world of has been fat and unfit washouts

  • StephanM - 2011-09-03 10:03

    "John is the best hooker in world rugby at the moment so we will be very sensible when we make selections," de Villiers said tersely. and i deserve a medal. and there is a 90% chance we'll win the WC. it just gets better and better!

  • Johann - 2011-09-03 10:19


  • Marty - 2011-09-03 10:19

    I want smit there as well, but not at any other position then hooker, and victor is good enough to stay on the field and be captain for the last part of every match when smit is going off in the second half. Smit will be valuable on and off the field at this WC, he is an amazing leader of people and the team respects him, more then they respect the coach. We can jyst be thankfull that Snorre's tenure as our coach will finally come to an end and someone with PR skills will once again hold the Bok image high.

  • johan.vaneck1 - 2011-09-03 10:29

    Go Bokke, you have the whole Country behind you. I'm sure the Management team will pick the right team for the different games but please keep PdV away from the media and place some one with brains that can represent our Country without making a fool of himself. (Ja you know us as a country know whats best hey....)

  • ruhan.steynfaardt - 2011-09-03 11:29

    This article just exposed the fact that both P De Villiers and Smit's wife are blatant liars.

  • Nishan - 2011-09-03 11:31

    It is sad that people pick on JS. Had JS had more game time at hooker, I am sure that we would not be second-guessing his abilities. In my opinion, it’s the Sharks to blame for JS saga. One minute you are told to beef up to be a prop, the next week you must loose weight to be a hooker. THE SHARKS SOULD BE BAND FROM BUYING NEW PLAYERS, cause the list is endless on players whose career they have messed up or players they have shifted around to the extent that they have not settled in a single position. JS will step up his game during the world cup and show to those people that have doubted him, that he is the best captain for the team.

  • - 2011-09-03 11:55

    Is this still newsworthy? It's becoming soooooooo boring! Please write about something else. No matter what we think or say, the management have already made their decission, so live with it.

  • SonderSnor - 2011-09-03 12:07

    Check the stats: We lost eight of the LAST NINE tests that John Smith started as captain....... maar my ouma het altyd gese dit gaan nie oor wen nie, dit gaan oor deelneem.

  • Davearch - 2011-09-03 14:08

    For goodness sake, J.Smit was a fantastic player and captain 4 years ago. Unfortunately father time has caught up with him, he is SLOW and PONDEROUS, is never awake for an opposition short throw at lineout, misses tackles by the bucket load and is just not in the same league currently as Bismark, who offers just so MUCH MORE. Having said that, lets just hope he is used in the last 5 mins when we are 30 points ahead. The last thing I would want is further disention in the BOK camp, but please PDIV don't make STUPID COMMENTS and be realistic. Comments like this makes you look so STUPID.

  • slg - 2011-09-03 16:32

    Div is a delusional kid who says strange things. Why he is the national coach is anybody's guess.

  • eric.bunyaz - 2011-09-03 18:22

    i tell you what........bring home the WORLD CUP and then maybe you can perhaps redeme yrself from the tri-nations flop......we need to win to bring home the GOLD.....we have the GREEN lets go BOKKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • gatvol4corru - 2011-09-03 20:38

    Divvy took some of Hershell's secret "stuff"! Look at those eyes maaan...! Just pulling our leg again,..what a clown!

  • Ruggero - 2011-09-05 16:44

    Smit is the best Captain in the world in my opinion , he is a warrior ! Back him and the team completely !

  • pages:
  • 1