Kwagga: Final isn't about personal redemption
Cape Town - Lions loose
Smith remembers the 2017 Super Rugby final better than
Playing in front of their home
fans at a packed Ellis Park, the Lions fell to a 25-17 defeat in what was their
second tournament final in as many years.
While the Lions were second best
on the day, their task was not made any easier by the fact that Smith was shown
a straight red card for a dangerous aerial challenge on Crusaders fullback
David Havili just before half time.
The Lions were spirited in their
second half fightback, but it was a bridge too far and the Smith incident was
one of the major talking points after the match.
Since then, the 25-year-old has
He has been impressive throughout
2018 and in June he made his Springbok debut against Wales in Washington.
On Saturday, he will have another
opportunity to help the Lions finally get over the line in Super Rugby when
they take on the Crusaders in Christchurch in what will be their third straight
Smith is not thinking about
personal redemption, but when quizzed by media in Johannesburg on Monday he
acknowledged that the aftermath of the 2017 final had been a testing time.
"Last year, I had an
opportunity, and I slipped up, but there’s another opportunity up for grabs and
I want to use it to the best of my ability," he said.
"It is not about redemption
for me, it’s just a wonderful opportunity. It’s a privilege to be in another
final, and for some, it’s a third final in a row.
"The week after (the 2017
final) was very difficult, and it was important to just get away to our farm
and have some quiet time.
"It wasn’t a cynical or
intentional act from my side, I perhaps just didn’t focus for one second, but
those are the moments that can make a difference in a final."
The Crusaders are overwhelming
favourites for Saturday's clash.
Kick-off is at 09:35 (SA time).