Smit's captaincy unparallelled

2010-04-21 22:37

Stephen Nell

Cape Town – South Africa dare not look further than John Smit for the captaincy of the Springbok team for next year’s World Cup.

It’s not as if Springbok coach Peter de Villiers needed convincing of that, but veteran Sharks lock Johann Muller felt it was necessary for the sceptical rugby media and public to be reminded of Smit’s quality.

Muller said that the “best captain in the world” had played a key role in helping the Sharks emerge from their slump this year. The Sharks lost their first five games in this year’s Super 14, but have since won four in a row.

“If we are honest with ourselves, we will say that we weren’t good enough in those first five games,” Muller said of the Sharks’ poor start.

“Even so, we should actually have beaten the Chiefs, Cheetahs, Waratahs and Brumbies. We had some rotten luck.

“It took some hard work to dig ourselves out. John Plumtree really grew as a coach and handled the pressure brilliantly. It’s also easier when you have the world’s best captain steering the ship.

“John has experienced similar situations. When I joined the Springboks in 2006 it was a difficult year for us.

“The only way to get through situations like that is to call on previous experience. John knows exactly where to look for the problems.

“We were also fortunate that other senior players such as Jacques Botes and Stefan Terblanche were in the set-up. You need your leaders to stand up and be counted.”

Smit has performed well as loosehead prop in recent weeks, though it has limited Tendai (Beast) Mtawarira’s chances.

However, it has meant that Plumtree has been able to fit Smit and Bismarck du Plessis into his front row.

The Sharks were infuriated by rumours earlier this year that Smit and the Du Plessis brothers – Bismarck and Jannie – did not get along.

There were also rumours of disappointment in the camp about Muller being replaced as captain in the Super 14 by Smit this year.

Muller, who will be joining Irish provincial team Ulster after the Super 14, never had a problem with it.

“Plum was very open about it. He came to me and Stefan and said ‘why not use the best captain in world rugby’. John and I are big friends and have played with and under one another. John is made for that role. It comes naturally to him.

“There are a few reporters and people who doubt whether he is the best in the positions that he plays, but for me as a player John just has to be there. He gets the best out of me.

“John’s performances in recent weeks have been excellent. I have no doubt that he should captain the Boks in 2011. It will offer South Africa’s best chance of retaining the Cup.”


  • Kwaaitjie - 2010-04-21 23:49

    You know what i am so sick and tired of this captain thing about John really i dont know what SA wants, he is the best in the world Div you dont need convincing by anyone all the rugby captains in the world said that SA can be proud of John please let us leave this issue the country needs John Smit as a black south african female i can say it he is the best SA ever had. Div welcome back hope you will be objective as always.

  • kevan - 2010-04-22 05:12

    Straight from a person who plays the game with John, not from Supporters who are anti Sharks. Speak to the other players from the other provinces and they will agree with Johan Muller. John is rhe best now and tbest wthere will be for a long time. He is play good Rugby at lose head prop. Look at the games and you will see..

  • siebert - 2010-04-22 05:24

    I love smit but Schalk this year did a exceptional job at the stormers and I think in rubgy it his been proven over and over again having a loose forward for captain and inspiration, like richie mccall is deadly combination. I respect smit alot but Ive noticed this year he is been blowing heavly towards the end of the game, i just think his fitness isnt the same any more. I still believe his got role as captain but i would like to see schalk being used as well/.

  • siebert - 2010-04-22 05:26

    I love smit but Schalk this year did a exceptional job at the stormers and I think in rugby it his been proven over and over again having a loose forward for captain and inspiration, like richie mccall is deadly combination. I respect smit a lot but Ive noticed this year he is been blowing heavily towards the end of the game, i just think his fitness isn't the same any more. I still believe his got role as captain but i would like to see schalk being used as well/.

  • Edwin - 2010-04-22 05:51

    Why all of a sudden these reports are published? if its like this the past has shown that the media will make a huge effort to drive this strange negative perceptions. The boks will not have a chance of winning anything without John.

  • Muller Papslang! - 2010-04-22 06:25

    Just what you can expect from “papslang” Muller! Obviously he will say this. Although I am not a Smit fan and don’t believe he is by any means good enough to be in the team at least Matfield won’t be captain then. Furthermore I believe that a player like “vuiluil” Bakkies needs someone who can translate the English into Afrikaans for him. Gary Gold told Tank Lanning the following in an interview.... I asked the Bok forwards to complete a SWAT analysis of themselves when I first joined the side. Bakkies reply to the Strengths part … “Yes, very”. Bakkies reply to the Weakness part … “Not so much” Mate how in god’s name is this idiot going to play rugby in Europe in 2012!? I suppose when they asked him what car does he like he answered “n bloue!” Hehehehehehe...SNORCITY!

  • Blue Bull Hater/Anti-Blue Bull - 2010-04-22 06:36

    I agree with the argument to an extent, but on CURRENT FORM there is no position where smith is the FIRST CHOICE. So it will again be a selection on historic form. Dit sal onregverdig wees teenoor Wicus Blaauw, Gary Botha, Tiaan Liebenberg, Brock Harris en Werner Kruger. Hierdie manne speel tans die beste rugby van hul lewe!!

  • Anton - 2010-04-22 07:06

    Keep fooling yourselves - John is not the best loose head, tight head or hooker in SA, you cant keep him in the team based on captaincy, otherwise Francois Pienaar would still be playing. Pick the best players and then your captain.

  • Navarac - 2010-04-22 07:22

    Captaining a good side to victory is a no-brainer. Captaining a useless side to victory is noteworthy. The win against the Lions last week doesn't count. The Sharks won because the Lions were K@ker than the Sharks!

  • JOHN 4 PRESIDENT - 2010-04-22 07:39

    I dont know why we still have to defend this icon of the game, he has lead us to Tri Nations, Lions Series and World Cup victories and still he needs defending from respected players (local and International). Let's put provincialism aside and agree that John is and probably will stay The Boks best captain ever. GO JOHNO, YOU HAVE OUR SUPPORT!!!

  • George - 2010-04-22 07:40

    Really John Smit can be the best captain in the world but thre comes a time. I have respect for him but at hooker we have plenty of better options and I am afraid he is not up to the position as prop. Sorry for the World Cup with new rules you need agile generally fast moving players, Schalk Brits, Tiaan du Plessis, etc. etc.

  • Jayman - 2010-04-22 08:09

    @ ANTON...............YOU ARE A CHOP!!!!!!! You have just answered yourself you fool.....let me quote you" Keep fooling yourselves - John is not the best loose head, tight head or hooker in SA, you cant keep him in the team based on captaincy, otherwise Francois Pienaar would still be playing. Pick the best players and then your captain. Pick the best players and then your captain." end quote. What you are saying is that John is K@K and the rest of the team is good? Is that not how the current team stands jou regte poepol. The best players picked and then the captain selected........Everyone out there who is anti JOHN SMIT, remeber this quote from Mr Richie McCaw himself...." John Smit is one of the most influential and inspirational rugby personalities of our era, these records dont get broken by accident" Now piss off and support the side.........

  • ELSA - 2010-04-22 08:13


  • THE MAN - 2010-04-22 08:14

    no this is unacceptable and will never ever happen. The ANC will insist that this time the proteas/springbucks WILL BE LED BY A BLACK CAPTAIN COME THE NEXT WORLD is about time our national sports be represented by the masses...we can't have small stupid little boys like jan smit representing our no no no.IF there is no black captain come the next world cup next year then i am afraid the government will not release this team to go and defend their title next year, infact jan smit and matfield will be defending their cup from the couch finished en klaar

  • Jono - 2010-04-22 08:22

    John is certainly not the best player at either 1,2 or 3. Unparallalled as a captain in SA yes, the world no. His win ratio is something like 54% vs Richie Mc Caw 72%.

  • Stryder - 2010-04-22 08:36

    If you balance his leadership qualities with his ability to play the gamne you will find he is a liability.

  • WeZo - 2010-04-22 08:36

    Best players then a vote for captain! then final decisions by coaches. maybe the Sharks are making him look bad at the moment

  • Bren - 2010-04-22 08:38

    Why are so many people trying to convince us that Smit is the right choice. I agree he is a fantastic captain but he is not fist choice or second choice prop or hooker at the moment.... so in other words he is the weak link in the scum and the the whole team. As much as respect him he must pick up his game to make it into the team

  • Luke - 2010-04-22 08:47

    You clowns who think Smit is not a good captain or player know very little about rugby. Any coach of a National side in world rugby would have John in their side as either captain or as a player.Johns work rate has increased in open play and he is doing a good job as lose head but as captain he is head and shoulders above any other player in SA. Yes he is in a weak Sharks team but you cant judge him on that. Go the SHARKS and go the BOKS !!

  • SA - 2010-04-22 08:50

    A great player and a great captain....but he is not getting younger. The next captain......BEE / AA guys, guaranteed! It will have nothing to do with ability. Strange though, because Bafana Bafana supposedly selects on ability!

  • Matt G - 2010-04-22 08:57

    A man who can inspire a team out of the worst of slums is worth more than a guy who can almost score a try every time he touches the ball. Go John. You're my boy! (That been said, John really isn't that bad. I really do rate him as a player too. The man has class)

  • Maverick - 2010-04-22 09:01

    Back in '95, Francois Pienaar was NOT the best in his position, but without him we would never have won the World Cup. If you have a captain that can lift the team, and who can stand his man in his chosen position, you play him, even if there are better players in his position. Simple as that...

  • kevan - 2010-04-22 09:04

    siebert, have you ever thought that because of the amount of work he puts in it takes it out of him.

  • Stormer@WP - 2010-04-22 09:05

    There is no place for John.Rather go with Big Vic.Good captain and player.

  • Stephen - 2010-04-22 09:26

    People, John Smit is not the best hooker, tighthead or loosehead prop, but he is the best Springbok captain of all time, and probably one of the greatest rugby captains of all time. Go back to Francois Pienaar- he was not the best flank in the country by a long shot, but was an exceptional captain. Smitty has the ability to bring the best out of his players, is good with the media. Speak to any one of the Boks, they will tell you that John is an exceptional captain. His record speaks for itself. No one plays as many tests as John Smit without having some amount ability. John Smit is a legend!!!!!! All those couch potato critics can piss off.

  • Nic - 2010-04-22 09:27

    How do you all know who the best captain should be? You need to play at their level to understand who is the the worthy gentleman to take us through to the world cup. Only the players can make that decision, then the coach. I personally believe that John Smit is brilliant and has proven this many times over. In a competition such as the 2011 world cup, we will definitely have all the best players ready to successfully win the competitiion, what we really need is the right leader to get us to the final and win it, someone the players respect and listen to when the chips are down. Having the right captain is everything to do with winning the biggest rugby competition in the world. If the players and coach believe John Smit is the right man, then respect that decision. If they believe that Burger can pull it off, then believe that is possible to. In my opinion, John has what it takes!!

  • Bill - 2010-04-22 09:44

    What is all the fuss about? John gets the job done. He might not be the best player but there are a few players in the Bok side that are not the best (AD, The Beast etc) but their inclusion is not queried. In the Bok setup Jon has proved over and over that he is the best so why MUST we change a wining recipe? Give him the support he needs!

  • Big Blue - 2010-04-22 09:50


  • Champion Bulls - 2010-04-22 10:01

    JS is a good captain, ..very bad player...!! ..The Boks weakest link in the front-row..!! ....Victorious Matfield for Captain..!!

  • Bokke - 2010-04-22 10:34

    Smit may / may not be the form player in everyone's eyes but the fact remains he brings the best out of his players and his impact on the field is tremendous. When Smit is not playing you can see the team does not have a leader. Personally, I would rather see 14 players playing their best, and 1 "good" player(SMIT) able to lead them. Besides how many players do we have in this country that can play in all three front row positions and still make an impact? I know of one, John Smit.

  • Snoekpoot - 2010-04-22 10:55

    This is rediculous! Why publish this under this heading?- Smit is not the form player, (neither is Matfield). The Stormers are the manne- Make Schalk Burger the captain- he is the form player! Smit is probably the 4th hooker behind Liebenberg, Botha, and du Plessis. Matfield currently no.2 after Bekker......and then Jacque Fourie for vice-captain.

  • mB - 2010-04-22 11:00

    @George - or are correct.John Smit was a good player and time showed that he was a good captain. And yes destiny on his side will go down as a great captain. But time moves on and he no longer can hold his positions in a bok team. time to move on.

  • Jack - 2010-04-22 11:36

    John Smit is the kind of man who will know, himself, when it is time to hang up his boots. I dont see the Sharks scrum going backwards, so what's the issue with his form? What we don't need is a captain who gets routinely yellow-carded or cited, so methinks Schalk is a definite no-no as captain. Victor has been a good captain, but has in the past made uneccessarily risky decisions e.g. when / when not to kick for goal. John is in a class of his own when it comes to leadership. Those who want him out are clueless - he's still got 2 seasons in him, easily.

  • Pissed_off_bull - 2010-04-22 11:36

    @ The Man: You Poepol!!!! You say let the masses take over! This blog is about rugby and the world cup and to try and unite as a country again and all you can think of is the masses and government. Dude this is 2010 and not the 1980's anymore. It doesn't matter what coulour your skin is. You could be purple for all I care. If you are good enough then you should play or even captain the bok team. It's people like you and Julius thats putting a halt on our yes "OUR" beautiful country's growth. So do me a favour, either grow up or shut up!!!! And those who has doubt in JS's abillity as a captain go read In Black and White then you will see what an amazingly good leader JS is.

  • Rockie - 2010-04-22 16:34

    Eye fink vat Graham Smit must stay Kaptein!!!!????

  • Roy Roux - 2010-04-22 17:19

    Surely Schalk Brits has been kept out of the Bok squad for long enough now. John Smit might be a good captain as the guys seem to suggest, but he is simply not a good enough PLAYER to be in the Bok squad. This is very plain to see from the vantage point of my recliner in front of my TV.

  • siebert - 2010-04-23 00:11

    @ george, I completely agree with you on that technical aspect of the game, everybody else ask yourself why is Australian teams doing well this year?, George is bang on, rugby is tactical game not a sentimental one, smit has role to play but with the new rules his role cant be as big as before its pretty commonsense to anyone knowing the game on tactical bases. i just hope div and his management knows it as well, this using northern province players and southern province player might be very clever way of figuring it out, let just hope they do!

  • pages:
  • 1