Boks playing too much - Smit

2010-08-23 12:18

Brenden Nel - SuperSport

Johannesburg - Springbok captain John Smit has admitted for the first time that senior Springboks are “playing too much rugby” but said it was up to his side to get themselves out of the hole they dug themselves into in this year’s Tri-Nations series.

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Smit spoke to Talk Radio 702 about his 100th cap for the Springboks, a game that ended in disappointment as the captain missed a crucial tackle that gave the All Blacks a last gasp victory in front of 94 000 heartbroken fans.

The Bok captain said he was “relieved” to be past the milestone and now to be able to concentrate on the rugby again. “The sun actually came it up when we thought it wouldn’t. It is amazing to see that,” Smit told 702. “You got to look at yourself and the mistakes. To lose a test in that manner was very emotional for me. Losing is one thing and I understand it. It doesn’t mean I like it.”

Smit said while the team had experienced a similar nightmare in the 2006 Tri-Nations and returned a year later to win the Rugby World Cup, this should not be taken as a given ahead of next year’s defence of their World Cup title.

There are growing alarm bells as to the way the Boks faded in the final quarter and increased worry that senior members of the side have played too much rugby.

“There are far too many similarities to be comfortable with,” Smit explained.

“It is important not to use 2006 as an excuse and be comfortable with it and then to think that in 2011 we will be as good as we were in 2007.

“That is the trap we can’t fall into. In 2010 we have a much more experienced side that is getting beaten like this. Perhaps it is a high mileage thing where some players have had a bit too much rugby and their bodies are talking.”

Smit said though that he still sees light at the end of the tunnel.

“Suspensions haven’t helped us either, and as much as we have excuses, we only have ourselves to blame. There is hurt and this weekend will highlight that. We’ve felt this feeling before. You want to reflect back on this in a year’s time when you need it – when you’re 20-all against Fiji. You want to remember this hurt. You want to reference back to this moment when you feel like actual death to get you out of that,” Smit added.

“Hopefully we can do that and keep our intensity like that for seven weeks in a year’s time.” Smit looked ahead at the Australia game, talking about the positives he takes out of the defeat at the hands of the All Blacks.

“ It’s always hard talking after the game when you are the loser. To be honest, we had very little to take out of the first three games. This one we know if we are a little closer intensity we want every week, we know we can make any team ordinary.

“This is the team that is leading the way in world rugby and suddenly their passes went down and we were tackling them backwards. Suddenly we started to look like world champions again.

“Sunday I woke up and realised the biggest positive is that if we play right we will win any game every time.”


  • Jason - 2010-08-23 12:25

    Oh come on. If professional soccer players can do 70 games a year, this girls can manage to do 30 games a season no problem.

  • scipio - 2010-08-23 12:28

    OMG! So what you're saying is you ARE NOT RETIRING after the tri nations?? :( Well i'll ask Santa again around krismis... JS GTFO of the bok team

  • KRUGER - 2010-08-23 12:28

    What more can be said about this guy. Captain my Captain, I salute you!

  • IZ IT - 2010-08-23 12:31


  • Megabull - 2010-08-23 12:31

    This is crap. The AB's and Aus plays just as much. Wrong coach and wrong captain and wrong team.......

  • ARNO - 2010-08-23 12:33

    Let John Smit and Pierre Spies rest - forever. Bring in Bismarck du Plessis and Ryan Kankowski/Duanne Vermeulen, make Schalk Burger captain and see how we beat the Aussies. Please take January and Meisiekind off the bench and bring in personnell that can play. OH and a nice problem to make place for Jacques Fourie.

  • Woolly Bugger - 2010-08-23 12:34

    The Boks had more tinme off than the All Blacks and had enough time to acclimatise at altitude. The Boks normally come back in the last 20 minutes at altitude, which did not happen on Saturday, they actually faded. In spite of all the assertions to the contrary it is clear that the fitness levels of the Boks are not up to the required standard, or the older guys need to seriously consider retirement. The Boks did not play more rugby than the All Blacks to date, but they keep on complaining about the number of games they play. They are paid an absolute fortune to play rugby and should be conditioned to give their best. Allthough the winning try was scored in the dying minutes, the Boks were out of the game after 60 minutes. The use of the bench was criminal. It is clear that the coaching staff do not know how to use the bench for maximum effect. They actually replaced the true performers on the day and left the guys who were struggling on the park. If we think the Boks can win the world cup with this squad, we are making a huge mistake. Ask England and Australia whether it is possible to win a world cup with squads as old as this one. The intensity would be too much for old guys to cope with

  • kudobok - 2010-08-23 12:35

    oh k@k man, this theory is just as flawed as the "peaking to early" myth...the all blacks are playing just as much rugby if not more yet they seem to be getting better and better??? please explain?

  • blou bul - 2010-08-23 12:35

    please pleasssee pleaasseeeeeee resign then you idiot!! you cost us the game with your kak tackling!!!!!!

  • Nick - 2010-08-23 12:36

    Cmon John we never looked like World champions - Carter missed 9 points with his boot - they scored 3 trys to 1 - I say it again, you were great in your day and will never be forgotten - but each time you run out to represent the Springboks you are eroding all your good work - Stay involved by all means, perhaps in the realm of a consultant - you were blowing after 20 minutes into the game - your missed tackle was through sheer exhaustion - you are too long in the tooth now - it happens to the best of us, its called aging - Victor was as ineffective as you and the same must now apply to him - with your influence and experiance, you can help the National team( as a consultant) to build a winning combination of what we have from our existing pool of talent - and who better to assist the team - none other than the man who has achieved it already all for the Springboks.

  • Hopeful! - 2010-08-23 12:38

    Yes JS, "there is light at the end of the tunnel"...It's an oncoming TRAIN!

  • True or false - 2010-08-23 12:39

    The only senior players that came to the party was Juan Smith and Schalk Burger, all the other SR members had a horrible game and should be dropped.

  • henk - 2010-08-23 12:41

    ag bullsh!!T. what about the all blacks? they compete in the super 14? they compete in their local "currie cup"? they played tests during the same time we had tests before the tri nations? and yet do you hear them complain? fact is you in person, smit was never ever the best hooker in the country. and to make it worst you are now unfit and too old to play for the boks. and so is matfield, du preez, habana, steenkamp. mc caw and the all blacks are better than what you are and that is that, for the simple reason that they've got competent coaching staff that know what they are doing and who run the coaching. fact that du preez was on the bench with an ear piece in his ear showed clearly that the so called rumours that senior players make the calls are not rumours only! it is time that you, matfield retire and finish and klaar!

  • Rob - 2010-08-23 12:41

    Ja .........and I work too much , but that's my job ?

  • Hopeful - 2010-08-23 12:41

    SWEET and SHORT, nothing to do with Leon Schuster! I DO BELIEVE IN RESURRECTION...Ha-Ha-Ha-a!

  • Trevor - 2010-08-23 12:45

    Blah Blah Blah , how do the All Blacks manage to win when they play the same amount of games. These players winge all the time, they are off most of the year, they have more holidays than most people employed and God alone knows they get paid alot more. Stop the crying and do your job.John Smit is two steps behind other players let alone about 4 steps behind other captains. Replace the cry baby he will never do well at the RWC next year. Management needs to wake up and replace him the sooner the better.

  • patrick - 2010-08-23 12:46

    PLEAAAAAAAAASE GO! Enough is enough. Up to a year ago I was a huge fan, but the past few months have been really sad. Show some dignity for goodness sake. Keeping Bismark out has become criminal.

  • Bokke - 2010-08-23 12:47

    You Skipper , you know we will be there next year RWC Champs 1995, 2007 and by God i believe in you guys 2011 thank you John

  • TB - 2010-08-23 12:49

    They are not playing more rugby than the Wallabies & All Blacks, do they. Rather acknowledge that they are getting too long in the tooth, are out of shape and not fit enought.

  • old leather - 2010-08-23 12:52

    Yes, I agree the sun comes up even though you lose a test. RUBBISH, RUBBISH about senior players playing too much. So what does Aust and NZ do? The play in the same competitions. I tell what the issues are, NZ plays the best people no matter how many games the have played 0 or 99. South Africa loves loyalty, loyalty is for dogs and their owners not cutting edge international with high intensity.

  • paiul_za - 2010-08-23 12:53

    P1SS POOR EXCUSE! Just look at how many games a baseball or basketball side plays in the sympathy Mr Smit. The All Blacks and Auzzies play just as much rugby as the boks (but then again they don't have over the hill players in their sides...)

  • Tehan - 2010-08-23 12:54

    The Currie Cup players play even more rugby than them. Maybe you guys are too long in the tooth

  • Kube$ - 2010-08-23 12:58

    @Nick - Great Comments. Rugby is not my first sport but I do however watch and you summed everything up perfectly.

  • Ross - 2010-08-23 12:59

    smit WILL be there for the world cup.everyone will be fitter and stronger.cant stand all this negativity from 'fans'

  • robert barrie - 2010-08-23 13:01

    Absolute nonsense - the wrong players are playing and this include specifically Smit. He is not fit and there are otehrs like him. Second, clearly the game is just to fast for the Boks and our coaches just are not equipped for the game at this level. Third, poord ecision making off the field to replace players at crucial times and due to his 'slowness' Smit cant make diecisions on the field

  • Weyers - 2010-08-23 13:03

    Why must we always criticise our people. Richie Mac Caw is much older than John Smit and he is still playing. But how can one compete against a player who is allowed to slow the ball on his own goal line twice and play offside adn hit a Springbok in the face after the ball went dead and got away with his team awarded a penalty 1 minute later. How can you all justify the forward passes in Mc Caws try as well as the fact that he was out before the try but we critisise our own people. You are all becoming like the media that sings the praises of Carter and Mc Caw long before they get on the field The commentattors are now already starting with the Wallaby Flyhalf, but we call ourselves "supporters" Come on man lets get behind teh boks and get them out of the hole they are in. everybody has a bad day at the office, and last year was our good year. Let's all just get the commentators to stop boosting other players in place of iurs Let's face Morne Steyn didn't miss a kick Maybe we are relying too much on that

  • scipio - 2010-08-23 13:05

    The headline should've read "Boks Playing Too Much K@k Rugby"

  • Simon - 2010-08-23 13:06

    The team looks unfit in the Tri-Nations compared to the ABs and the Wallabies. I wouldn't fire PdV. I would compare the fitness regime in the WC 2007 build-up and then take some measures to change the actual fitness program of the players. With better fitness of the players, the self-confidence comes back.

  • bye bye - 2010-08-23 13:06

    .....Juan Smith for Bok captain..!! ...bye bye John Smit..!!

  • lv - 2010-08-23 13:06

    Pleeeeeeaaaaaaase John Smit, f..... off now!!!!

  • Simon - 2010-08-23 13:07

    The team looks unfit in the Tri-Nations compared to the ABs and the Wallabies. I wouldn't fire PdV. I would compare the fitness regime in the WC 2007 build-up and then take some measures to change the actual fitness program of the players. With better fitness of the players, the self-confidence comes back.

  • Billy of Arabia - 2010-08-23 13:09

    Just before 2007, the boks lost something like 19 games on the trot, went into the world cup as the underdogs with "nothing to loose" and as a result of an extremely lucky draw, never played the big boys and ended up winning the world cup. This will NOT work twice in a row. We need the new era boys in the team now to be experienced by the time we are in New Zeeland. To have this excuse when we get dropped in the 1st few rounds then , is to late. Too much rugby means you need to pace yourself. But I guess the ou manne wants the money and the glory?

  • Steadfast - 2010-08-23 13:10

    I work too much to pay for the high ticket prices that pays yours and management salaries. So if you dont like the working hours then leave. John, how on earth can you say you have played too much, you jog meters behind the play and then point out the problems to the ref. Imagine you took the knocks McCaw, Burger and co took during the last game. Do us all a favour, go on diet and get running fit again and then you will be usefull again.

  • RJL Burger - 2010-08-23 13:11

    You are right .You for instance have played 99 games too much.

  • Dane - 2010-08-23 13:13

    This has two sides to the story i believe John smit is a great captain and an inspirational leader but his body just cant keep up with test level rugby. theres an old saying ''Quit while you still ahead'' and it seems as if he gets worse with every game!! i think our springboks are playing poor because we are unfit and too one dimentional. we need new young players and another coach because Peter inherited this squad and just managed them from 2008! Get jake back and get some fiesty players in so that we may have a chance next year!!!! cheers

  • IVAN - 2010-08-23 13:14

    Boks had three weeks off before this test, John, what's up? Seriously, what's up? Go prepare yourself for Saturday, only 5days left and we want a win from you, not excuses, leave the talking to Naas and Boots and All

  • Katlego xxx - 2010-08-23 13:15

    for me it was a lil bit of slopyness after they saw we where leading,and it cost the country pride.But for me Springboks are the world champions and the boys can not make "playing too many games" an excuse in such big historical events for me they lacked composure and forgot what a big day it was for south AFRICAN HISTORY.But again i dont think our coach can bring back GOLD from Next Years World Cup

  • Peter - 2010-08-23 13:15

    Its time to say good bye all you old farts You have done us proud ,move aside while you still fondly remembered ,and let the good times roll

  • CLS - 2010-08-23 13:16

    yeh right, play too much is one thing, if rested and then play bad then its because not enough game time, stop making excuses and make changes.The so called top players must go, they have been there and done that, they are only there for the money and not the game.

  • Robert Kay - 2010-08-23 13:18

    What a lot of cock and bull! John, if you and the other so called "seniors" can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen lad! This is your job, and you get paid very well for it. Judging by your performance lately, maybe a bit too much, but then again fancy mansions like yours need lots of money! So, if you want to earn, work. If the job gets too much for you, change it. Maybe grow vegetables or something!

  • Jimbo - 2010-08-23 13:19

    You call it experience - people with decent eyesight call it old age. You call it tiredness - others call it the need for a new coach.

  • fly - 2010-08-23 13:19

    Yes John please will you take the next 36 months off.

  • LPB - 2010-08-23 13:19

    Strange...there was no criticism from armchair critics when he held the world cup up.

  • Stephen - 2010-08-23 13:21

    I once told my boss I was over worked. He told me he could fire me, then I could could have no work. These are PROFESSIONAL sportsmen, getting played a small fortune- stop whining and get on with it! We need new blood who are hungry and actually want to play lots of rugby in the side now! You never hear basket ball players who play 40-50 games a season saying they play too much basketball, or golfers saying they play too much golf. They earn BIG MONEY! Maybe a no play no pay clause in their contracts, then we will see how many games they want to play. It is an HONOUR to p[lay for your country, not a chore!

  • MARIUS - 2010-08-23 13:25

    Verskonings, verskonings. En die pop van n kaptein kom nou nog nie agter dat hy een van die groot redes is hoekom ons sukkel nie. Hy maak sy naam met elke wedstryd al hoe meer gat. Ek hoop ons verloor ver teen Aussies sodat SA Rugby die coaching staff en die ou poppe in die span moet fire.

  • dc - 2010-08-23 13:29

    SA did play a much better game on saturday.. crowd support definitely upped their level, but it did feel like they lacked oomph! and that is not 110% preparation... its no use moaning and bitching ..after you lose a game.. its the technical staffs duty, together with COACH to decide who is tired and played too much rugby...or is it the coach's fault for selecting tired players??? ... Smit why didnt you have that dream on Saturday morning???? One more tip... dont wait for the referees to do you any favors in the game... they suck, so strategy to score on the touch line more often and win by clear margins is not a dream , but a reality , together with discipline and defence. Thats should be our goal for 2011. All blacks are playing like they already won 2011 on home soil. They have a younger side... are we rotating our younger players and resting the older ones??

  • ChapStick - 2010-08-23 13:32

    You computer warrior's are all a bunch of disrespectful douchebags and I am willing to bet none of you have played the game above 'social' sides and have no clue. John Smit is the greatest captain to ever have been in charge of a bok team. He has also had to play TEST RUGBY AT THREE DIFFERENT POSITIONS through no choice of his own but for the greater good of the team. Why don't you weekend hacks concentrate on the boerewors and moerkoffie and leave the crits to those who are in the know.

  • Abi - 2010-08-23 13:33

    JP had a wonderful game. Nice to see you back cuz. Hope the rest of your season is injury free. Comin on John Smit please retire, your shelf life letter has expired. Please hand it in cause you are not export material. Although I felt for you, your 100th game and then to loose in the dying minutes of the game. That's terrible hey. But take your togs and hang it up. And spend time with your beautiful wife and cute children.

  • Laurie - 2010-08-23 13:38

    You know what, I realy think John has missed the boat. 2006 is history and to be exact it is 5 years ago. John, you are also 5 years older and so is your overweight over worked body. The older you get the less your body co-operates especially in a contact game like Rugby. You carry on about experience. Unfortuanately the more experienced you become the older you become. John and his body, although experienced, has now become to old for the game.

  • pay - 2010-08-23 13:38

    ...they pay the Boks to play rugby.. ....maybe they should cut their salaries.... .....overpaid and underperformed....