Smit: Intensity key for Boks

2010-08-25 10:59

Gavin Rich - SuperSport

Johannesburg - John Smit believes the key to his Springbok team’s chances of beating Australia in their fifth Vodacom Tri-Nations encounter at Loftus on Saturday will be the level of intensity they can bring to the game – and he is 100% on the money.

Australia have over the years displayed a penchant for imploding on the Highveld, and if the Boks care to look back through the history books, they will be emboldened by the knowledge that often the Wallabies have conspired against themselves when playing at upcountry venues.

If you speak to former Australian coach Eddie Jones he will tell you how cowed Australian players tend to be when they get on a plane and the destination is a match in Johannesburg and Pretoria – and this year they have two matches scheduled for the Highveld.

Unlike the All Blacks, Australia have elected not to stay at altitude in the buildup to Saturday’s match. Instead they have spent the weekend in Cape Town, and will fly to Johannesburg on Thursday, and next week they will be staying in Durban for most of it.

The decision to build up at the coast was taken jointly by the coaching staff and the players, but coming up two days before does seem like an odd decision. The conventional wisdom is that you go to altitude either on the day of the match or a week before if you want to stand the best chance of acclimatising.

But while the Wallabies may find the dry fields and air of Loftus and the hostile atmosphere of Pretoria a far cry from the more moist air and softer fields of Cape Town, the Boks nonetheless need to tread warily going into two matches they should be expected to win.

The Wallabies appear to have seen what many others saw at FNB Stadium this past weekend, where the All Blacks came from behind to beat a Bok team that was clearly out on its feet in the last quarter. They have made no bones about the fact that they will be trying to outpace and out-last a team they feel only plays in patches.

The one big thing that should be of concern to South Afrcans is the level of intensity the Boks through into last week’s big occasion match. Can they repeat it again, or did they in a sense play their final then and now their emotion is spent? Only Saturday will tell, but Smit is under no illusions as to what is needed.

“The Australians play with a different style to the All Blacks and are not as physical, but for us to win we are going to have to take the same intensity into the Loftus match that we had last Saturday,” said Smit.

Of course, what he did not add was that the intensity has to last for 80 minutes, and not just 60, and it is going to be crucial for the Boks to put points on the board if they dominate the early stages of the game when they will still be fired by the emotion of Victor Matfield’s 100th appearance and the experience of being back on a field that so many of them regard as their stomping ground.

Australia vary their attacking game much more than New Zealand do, and the defensive system is going to have be even more efficient than it was in the first half last week. Halfbacks Will Genia and Quade Cooper offer attacking options through the middle and on their inside, where skipper Rocky Elsom is a key ball carrier.

But Smit, who says the disappointment of the last minute defeat to the All Blacks has been swept away by the focus that needs to be put on the next game, reckons that it is less about what the Wallabies are going to do and more about what his own team need to do.

“We need to step away a bit and think less about what we are playing against and more about what we are going to do. We must focus on ourselves and getting our game right and not worry too much about the opposition.”


  • jaco - 2010-08-25 11:08

    AGAIN they rely on other factors ( dry fields & the highveld air) to help them win ! Bloody Hell ! Get a better game plan, Stop kicking away possesion, Grow some Balls, and PLAY RUGBY !!!!!

  • Vaughn - 2010-08-25 11:29

    Now John, you've said a lot of things about how to beat NZ & AUS.... but lost ALL the games; don't you think you don't know the game anymore ??? Maybe just keeping the ball, being fit and playing rugby with the "form" players will do the trick, just asking ?!

  • GT - 2010-08-25 11:35

    we need to stop picking fatties!! Intesity cannot happen if you don't get to the ruck in time or find yourself defending the centre channel because you are dragging yout butt 5 seconds behind play. Sorry John, I was your biggest fan, but you cannot play forever

  • Simon - 2010-08-25 11:50

    @Jaco.... this was the gameplan PDivvy tried introducing with he first started (more running rugby)... and everyone cried foul!!

  • Confused - 2010-08-25 11:51

    Why is John still playing?

  • Michael - 2010-08-25 11:58

    There are no easy games in TN3. So to think that external factors will be on Boks side is a no no. The Boks will have to play out of their skins to win this next game.

  • jakes - 2010-08-25 12:02

    Smit, intensity, same sentence, hahahahaha. Good joke fatso

  • Stirlo - 2010-08-25 12:04

    Playing at "100% intensity" is expected but on it's own may not be enough against an Oz team who under Robbie Deans will play to a plan. What will be Bok tactics ? If the Bok coaches have a gameplan this week can someone in the media please ask them or their senior players after the game what it was .Then maybe their selections & actions on the pitch may make some sense.

  • AyJo - 2010-08-25 12:10

    Now the FAT man confirms that he runs/owns the Boks - "John Smit believes the key to his Springbok team’s chances of beating Australia" . Please go home to mommy & the kiddies already.

  • skywalker - 2010-08-25 12:14

    Gonna have to up the game to beat a well-coached and motivated Wallaby team.

  • Willem - 2010-08-25 12:17

    @jaco, I fully agree. Morne should have been in the banana banana team the way he is kicking EVERYTHING away. Why can't we also adapt to the new laws like all the other teams. KEEP possesion as force errors that way, not hoping they will make errors with the ball in hand. And please get rid of Habana, the white line fever is hitting him hard....

  • Philip - 2010-08-25 12:19

    I wonder what was the highest level that any of the critics had played, I wonder?

  • please go now - 2010-08-25 12:27

    John Smit has played his 100 games.. ..He should go now.. ..and AA PDV..

  • BRENDAN - 2010-08-25 12:33

    Same old story every week, please shoot me. I'm going to start supporting Romania at least they're honest.

  • Whatever! - 2010-08-25 12:34

    When last did the Boks lost 4 in a row and 3 of the losses real bad losses? JSmit is useless as player and captain. Doesn’t this guy have any self-respect or respect for the Bok jersey? Where is Bismarck? If the Boks loose against the Aussies at Loftus on Saturday it will be a disaster! GO AUSSIES seeing that the only way in which THE CLOWN will listen is by loosing. If Div was white he would have been past tense months ago. Fkn disgrace!

  • UK Bok Supporter - 2010-08-25 12:47

    Fair enough, but as the author said, can they do it for 80mins? Personally I don't think so if we keep playing the old boys. They could probably get away with it if Div knew how to ( select one firstly) properly use his bench. But the exclusion of Aplon and inclusion of Oros Januarie speaks for itself. I hope the Boks win but even so there is no gain towards RWC 2011. Unless he wants to use the 2007 squad in 2011. Again remember to bring the zimmer frames and Salusa 45.

  • Blue Blood - 2010-08-25 12:50

    It’s not over until the fat lady sings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We know the tri nation trophy is bagged. He says, she says whatever having said that, I can handle us losing to New Zealand, but not the Ausies (reserve my reasons). Phew, got that off my

  • Andy - 2010-08-25 12:50

    Team selection totally weird.Players like John,Victor,Jacque just not up for it anymore.Pierre can only play well at Loftus.I live in Ireland and have been to 3 tests,dressed up in my kit,expensive tickets,and as an ex player i was embarrassed to watch them play--please select younger,hungry future players for end of year trip up north.(i will not attend again)

  • @Simon - 2010-08-25 12:53

    At the time PDivvy introduced it the rules of the game wasn't suited for the open type of running rugby, it is now. But it seems South African rugby takes about a full year to adapt to rule changes. Every time the rules of rugby are overhauled the Boks and SA franchises tend to struggle to adapt.

  • @Simon - 2010-08-25 12:56

    there is Nothing wrong with a kicking Gameplan !! But then you must have propperly placed kicks ! Don't just kick for the sake of kicking . . . .

  • Weepee - 2010-08-25 13:27

    ''Being an Springbok supporter is like being the over-optimistic parents of the fat kid on sports day.''

  • blousnor - 2010-08-25 13:41

    lekker dat wp verloor het hulle wou mos nie bokke help nie. skop al daai dronk moeggoes uit die bok span. wat het habana gedoen behalwe on driee wegtegee , dejong en deviliers begerol gedoen. en skalk burger kan nie eers bal steel nie. ons bis vir brussow want dan het ons die bal gehad maar nee on moet net defend.

  • Norman - 2010-08-25 14:06

    Intensity - ha,ha,ha,ha! we should have thought of that four test's ago. they are flying blind at the moment and anything goes. every day its a new excuse,our national team is sounding more and more like government minista's

  • IZ IT - 2010-08-25 14:15


  • William Shakespeare - 2010-08-25 14:44

    Smit of course means the amount of intensity the Bulls players can bring to the game on Saturday, right? Maak die Bulle almal Bokke.

  • STORMER - 2010-08-25 14:46

    @Blou snor...dit is jou tipe wat my oortuig Pretoria is 'n refugee kamp. Hastily constructed in order to provide a 'home' for those not welcome elsewhere. (Eish dude,in your case ignorance truly is bliss)

  • Renegade - 2010-08-25 22:09

    Dikkes, jy wil die ander manne oppomp, dat jy WEER op hul rug kan ry???Speel vir Gary Botha, of Du Plessis, self die fokker van Die WP, ALMAL is ber as John, alias huil Baba,(en sy vrou) selfs die kinders het gehuil!!, ek dink hul moet op my begrafnis optree as Profesionele Huilers!!, Plaas laat hy fokus opi Game maar nou het hy n kind op elke arm!!! Hier kom sy volgende boek, en Pitte, geldjies, pappa, want ons laaik die laaim light!!!Hul se mos dat Johna smile waneer daar weerlig is: Hy dink hy word afgeneem!

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