Smit: Best Boks will play

2011-05-11 22:29
Norman Adami (SAB) and John Smit (Gallo Images)
Christo Buchner

Johannesburg - The Springboks attach major importance to the Tri-Nations and that is why he believes the best available team will play in the tournament that finishes just weeks before this year's Rugby World Cup.

Those were the words on Wednesday from Springbok captain John Smit at the announcement of Castle Lager's five-year sponsorship of the Tri-Nations.

"Senior players that are in need of a rest like Victor (Matfield), Bakkies (Botha) and Bismarck (du Plessis) will sometimes not be in action, but in general the strongest team will be picked," said Smit.

"We view the Tri-Nations as very important preparation for the World Cup and that is why the strongest team has to play."

His statements are in contrast with recent indications that a B-team could do duty in the tournament against Australia and New Zealand so that South Africa's top players could all be rested.

Smit also doubted whether some of the senior Springboks were deliberately "holding back" in the Super Rugby tournament to save themselves for the World Cup.

"I think those are just stories that are mischievously being spread. It would have been a dangerous thing to do in any case as it would put you at greater risk of sustaining injuries and a loss of form. I don't believe any player will easily do that," he said.

Smit believes he is probably fresher than someone like Matfield, who has played in all the Bulls' games to date.

When asked if he is frustrated by the fact that he has featured so little in his favoured hooker position for the Sharks, Smit responds:

"Had I not known beforehand what the situation might be, it would definitely have been a source of frustration."

He also believes we will only know after the tournament in New Zealand which hemisphere had the best preparation.

"If everyone knew which recipe was the best - to have very competitive games in the few months leading up to the tournament like the Southern Hemisphere, or to have rest like the Northern Hemisphere to be able to strategise - then everybody would have followed it,” said the Bok captain.

Read more on:    tri-nations  |  john smit

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