Kwagga has sights on 15-man Bok jersey
Gareth Duncan - MyPlayers.co.za
Johannesburg - Lions flank Kwagga Smith has been in great form during Super Rugby this season, but he has set his sights on higher honours in the 15-man code.
Smith made a big name for himself during his time with the Springbok Sevens, and he’s now making a notable impact in the 15-man game too. More so this season as he’s played his way into the Lions starting line-up by adding value on attack and defence.
He delivered outstanding individual performances during the Lions’ recent wins over Kings (54-10) and Bulls (51-14), which saw the HTS Middelburg old boy named man-of-the-match on both occasions.
However, Smith, who turns 24 on June 11, is quick to credit the team for his impressive form.
“It’s very easy to do well when the team is doing well. Every player on the field is doing his best for the team and making sure they do what they can to make the next player look better,” Smith told MyPlayers.
“It’s been great being able to switch between sevens and 15s rugby. After three seasons of finding the right balance, it does get much easier.
“I’m very happy with my game at the moment, but there’s always room for improvement. I’m happy with my attacking game and helping the team get regular go-forward ball. I plan on putting some more work at training to become more dominant in the tackle.”
While the international fixtures are played during June, Super Rugby enters a three-week break.
Smith said the players in Johannesburg will continue their preparations after they were given rest this week.
“It’s nice to rest the body and have some off time. My friend (Springbok Sevens player) Werner Kok is actually visiting me and we’re catching up,” said Smith. “The Lions players will get back to work next week as we plan to deliver a strong finish to the Super Rugby campaign.
“We did very well last season to reach the finals, but we hope to take it one more step further this year.”
Smith added that he has big goals that he wants to achieve during his career.
“My big goal is to play for the Springboks one day. I know there have been many mentions for me to be included in the set-up right now, but I am happy to earn my opportunity. My focus right now is to do well for the Lions and help the team get the desired results during Super Rugby. The rewards will follow,” he said. “I still plan on playing sevens rugby too. I will be in the squad for the tournaments in Dubai and Cape Town again later this year before returning for Super Rugby in 2018.”
Smith added that he’s very proud of the Blitzboks’ achievements this season, which saw them clinch their second Sevens World Series title.
“After a few players left the sevens squad to join their respective Super Rugby team, the guys still managed to build on the momentum created earlier in the season. The guys who stepped up did very well, while the experienced and senior guys did well to lead the team,” said Smith. “I was watching the team very closely during the season and was very proud to see them do so well. Winning the Sevens World Series title is a proud achievement for South African rugby.”
Meanwhile, off the field, Smith is already preparing for life after rugby as he dedicates time on the family farm.
“My parents run a farm just outside my hometown Lydenburg. I now have a piece of land that I am preparing for myself,” said Smith. “Having a grown up on a farm, I definitely have a passion for it and it will be my second career once I retire. I plan on farming maize and soya beans.”
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