Smit back at prop for Boks?

2011-07-07 07:28

Stephen Nell

Cape Town – Springbok captain John Smit may be cast into the role of part-time tighthead prop again when South Africa embark on their Tri-Nations tour.

While the Tri-Nations will offer Smit a golden opportunity of giving his career as hooker momentum again, Werner Kruger is now the only fit tighthead prop of those still standing in the Bok training squad.

It is believed there is a good chance that Kruger will be among the substitutes when the Boks open their campaign against Australia in Sydney on 23 July.

If that is the case, the responsibility may well be Smit’s to wear the No 3 jersey.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers on Wednesday expressed concern about the lack of depth at tighthead prop.

“We are trying to get BJ Botha fit,” he said.

De Villiers is not in a position to call up Zimbabwean Bok Brian Mujati from the Northampton Saints because he apparently has passport issues that need to be addressed before he can represent South Africa.

“Mujati’s situation has to be sorted out in the boardroom and I don’t think we can say much more about it,” said De Villiers.

“It’s not an on-field issue. We will consider him if the people in the boardrooms can address the problems.”

Sharks battering ram loose forward Jean Deysel was called up and trained in a loose-trio with Heinrich Brüssow and Ryan Kankowski in Ravensmead on Wednesday morning.

It will be interesting to see if Pierre Spies is considered for the overseas leg of the Tri-Nations.

Considering that there is a Bok training camp in Cape Town, it came as quite a surprise to note a tweet from Spies about the Tower of Pisa. It is understood that he had arranged the holiday some time ago and that his absence carries the blessing of the coaching staff. He can therefore be considered.

However, Spies did not undergo medical testing and Bok management are therefore not up to speed with possible injury niggles.

De Villiers made it clear that he would make the best of a bad situation to ensure that the Boks are competitive on the away leg of the Tri-Nations.

“I’d love to win every test, but I never expected such a long list of injuries,” said De Villiers.

“But the other players will read a lot in my body language if I suggest that they are inferior. We’re not just giving up in the Tri-Nations.

It’s the first time since the series against the British and Irish Lions that we have two weeks to prepare and that may just work in our favour.”


  • Neo - 2011-07-07 07:53

    Maybe we can try him on the left wing?

      MB1810 - 2011-07-07 08:00

      Haha, maybe we should offer him a permanent position on the bench. I love John Smit to pieces, but he is just not a good enough hooker anymore and he never was a good enough prop.

      Ockert - 2011-07-07 08:07

      @Neo, just what I was thinking , actually was thinking Fool Back.

      TheBush Catable - 2011-07-07 08:25

      Maybe you armchair warriors should play.

      MB1810 - 2011-07-07 10:00

      @TheBush: Maybe these armchair warriors are armchair warriors because they know when to call it a day. John Smit: great captain, great leader, great person, but he is a few steps behind every other international hooker at the moment and perhaps a staricase behind other international props. Point is, his work rate is just not good enough anymore and we reached the point where he has become a liability for the team rather than an asset (perhaps we already reached that point 2 years ago). Its not an age thing, John is 32, same age as Mealamu, the difference is Mealamu still makes the tackles, puts in the hard yards, competes in rucks, while John has become a target for backs to run at because he is so slow.

      TheBush Catable - 2011-07-07 11:13

      We will have to just wait to find out. Hopefully he does well. If he does pull it off then everyone will be singing his praises. Poor bugger can't win.

      MB1810 - 2011-07-07 11:27

      @TheBush: I certainly hope he does well too. I'll be the first one to swallow my words and write an apology letter to the man.

      TheBush Catable - 2011-07-07 11:43

      MB1810- You made good points. It's almost as though it's too late to bow out now, things have been too low lately. Needs to go out in style. I hope it can be done for his and Rugby's sake.

      Makutu - 2011-07-07 13:11

      John Smit is actully rated one of the worst defenders in Super 15 this year. I wonder what Peter de Villiers is seeing in this guy. I just wonder. Check the link below. Read for yourselves!

      Neo - 2011-07-07 17:52

      Smit and the boys are the reason we have the trophy here .... much respect!!! Please don't do foolish things for the sake of keeping him in the team!

  • Sparky - 2011-07-07 07:56

    WP Nel

      Ockert - 2011-07-07 08:09

      Exactly and there must be others, except the crocks on the injury list, come back from injury and play half a game and back to injured. - 2011-07-07 08:25

      Why not the whole Cheetah front row? Who was the only SA team to beat the Saders??? The Cheetahs.

  • firefighter - 2011-07-07 07:58

    Why does he not do us all a favour and hang up his boots now? I reckon our chances at the RWC will increase ten-fold. Of course, if we want 100% certainty of victory the most useless coach in the history of the game must also go!

      Makutu - 2011-07-07 10:30

      Yes... Why doesn't he just do that? That would be a great honour to the nation!

  • Mikus - 2011-07-07 07:58

    oh well, at least we'll start the tests with a built-in left shoulder

  • Rob van den Heuvel - 2011-07-07 08:04

    How is it that we have a shortage of good #3s in the country yet we allow people like BJ Botha to go off shore, something is not working within SARU. Doc Craven used to say, " Give me a good tighthead and I'll build you a great team..."

      Ockert - 2011-07-07 08:11

      There must be at least 15-20 to chose from, but we decide on a "part-timer" to do the job.

      Ockert - 2011-07-07 08:12

      Actually some school boys might do a better job.

  • bostik - 2011-07-07 08:06

    Maybe he shouldn't be on the field at all! He can captain from the side...

      Makutu - 2011-07-07 10:31


  • thyspelser - 2011-07-07 08:06

    Smit stands at outside centre most of the game, pick him there! Bottom line: he is loosing all respect as he does not deserve to be in the team as player. Make him a consultant and select the real tightheads and give the wealth of excellent hookers (who can get to the rucks, tackle, run, etc) the oppertunities! Please resign John and be remembered as an all time great! PDV do you have the balls?

  • DikWielFiets - 2011-07-07 08:07

    Oh man...Waytt Crockett and the likes must be licking their chops at the prospect of scrumming against John Smit.

  • GHT - 2011-07-07 08:22

    I wouldn't mind if Spies stayed in Italy till December. Just a thing to note though. Spies apparently arranged this trip a long time ago. Well. The Super Finals are only this weekend, so did he know that the Bulls will not be competing in the finals long before everyone else? Also, he knows that after the Super Finals, there will be Bok camps. Can't believe he planned such a holiday. But as I said. I don't mind.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-07-07 08:52

      My thoughts EXACTLY. Planned long ago my left eye. Surely to hell with his form being what it is, he should be the first chap on the training field at the Bok camp? Why was he allowed to do this - bugger off on holiday? It also says the Bok management have NO IDEA with regard to any injuries etc he might have? WTF? And NO, this is not Spies is asking a few relevant and VERY appropriate questions.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-07-07 08:55

      AND @GHT - what I find the most that the reports say he is available for selection (based on the Mangement NOT knowing either way about his injuries/fitness etc) - in other words, he will once more be guaranteed selection, as in the past? And Spies fans - take this all on the chin, because you chaps KNOW that if it was Schalk or Duane on "holiday" in Italy whilst the rest of the Boks 'work/train and plan' you boys would be up in arms and spitting blood (along with insults)

      radar - 2011-07-07 14:08

      There is a reason Spies is on holiday - he is no longer first choice for the Boks and it will not surprise me if Spies does not make the final squad for the World Cup. If Vermeulen is healthy, Spies will be watching this World cup from either Pretoria, or who knows the leaning Tower of Piza!!!!!!

  • watalife - 2011-07-07 08:28

    This fat bugger will fall of the wagon after the Tri-Nations

  • JJRR - 2011-07-07 08:33

    En......... Wat is nuut....... So wen jy nie 3 bekers nie!!!!

  • Grunk - 2011-07-07 08:35

    "Div never expected such a long list of injuries". SARU obviously thought that Super 15 and Tri Nations was a girly game of throwing cushions around on the bed - extremely good management is there again for all to see. You really deserve all the Millions you rake in from the game.

  • saliem - 2011-07-07 08:47

    I would try Smit at left-back... in the changing room :P

  • richard.wraith - 2011-07-07 09:04

    He's not a prop, this has been shown in past performances. It's hooker or nothing for for me.

      Chilli Boy - 2011-07-07 10:12

      I agree with you,it will be an injustice and disrespectful to John Smit to play him at prop.He is NOT a prop,he is unfortunately no longer the first choice hooker,however he is a legend and should be revered as such. I wish all these people running John down would step back and acknowledge what a legend this man actually is.The simple fact of the matter is that there is NOBODY within the current Bok setup that can motivate and lead the players like John can.The experienced players will confirm that.PDiv cannot do without John and neither can the players.If John was just another player in the twilight of his career he would be gone.But he is not,he is an irreplaceable legend.My earnest wish is that everybody would get behind John Smit and respect him for who he is.

      TheBush Catable - 2011-07-07 10:26

      Chilli Boy- Nice to see someone posting something sensible.

      MB1810 - 2011-07-07 11:12

      @Chilliboy: The best way to lead is by example, thruth is, if John starts slipping tackles, I can't see the team taking his motivating words too seriously. Is he a bok legend? Yes most certainly, but so is Danie Gerber and I don't see him in the team

      Marcell - 2011-07-07 12:43

      Real legends know when to go. He is just there to rake in the last couple $$$.

  • grant9 - 2011-07-07 09:13

    I will be disgusted bur not surprised when Puke Watson is selected for the bok squad. It's too much of a coincidence the he returned to SA the year the world cup is being played. He has all the right poltical conections and that counts for a lot.

      Raka13 - 2011-07-07 10:27

      You have a valid point?

      MB1810 - 2011-07-07 11:00

      That is exactly what I thought when all the articles about Luke being sorry started to surface at the start of the year. It figures, he insults the Springbok Jersey and culture, calls the majority of Rugby supporters in SA dumb (the Afrikaans fans), then buggers of to the NH to get rich playing club rugby. All of a sudden in World Cup year, he comes back wearing a sorry suzie expression after pissing on SA rugby and some people (fans, his daddy, daddy's friends) want to hand him a green jersey as a welcome back gift. I'm sorry, but if that happens I will stop supporting SA rugby

  • Kuppy - 2011-07-07 09:38

    Don't these selectors ever learn.

  • Porra - 2011-07-07 10:06

    Since Ricky left maybe they should try him at 9. I see the reckon he is s few steps slower! WP Nel or move Dean Greyling across to 3. Eugene van Staden is also an option. Replaced Jannie against the Saders.

  • Makutu - 2011-07-07 10:29


  • Hein - 2011-07-07 10:42

    I really struggle (and have for 18 months) to understand both PdV's thinking and the public sentiment with regard to John Smit. Smit was moved to tight-head by PdV (not loose-head, mind you) and had to bulk up considerably as a result. He had to make this transition at Test & Super rugby level against the best loose-head props in the world. And he had the additional pressure of being captain & virtually stand-in coach & manager to compensate for the known deficiencies of PdV's coaching team. Come the 2011 Super rugby season, it is obvious to everyone that he has bulked down considerably. But instead of utilizing Smit/Bizzie on a rotational basis as the Bulls did successfully with Chillboy/Botha, Plumtree uses Smit predominantly as a prop again. The Sharks (and so-called Bok) front-row of Beast/Bizzie/Jannie gets clobbered by the Saders in the play-offs, until Smit comes on as replacement hooker in the 61st min, when the scrum looks solid for the first time and leads to 2 tight-heads. Midway through the competition, PdV clearly states that Smit is his #1 hooker and expresses annoyance that he is not seeing enough of Smit in the position. Now, because of an injury crisis, Smit is again considered for the tight-head position, 15kgs lighter than what he was last season? Instead of taking the positional and verbal battering that he has, the best captain this country has ever had should just tell the selectors, the coach and the ever-critical SA rugby public to sod off !

      Marcell - 2011-07-07 12:47

      People do strange things for money. How many people that Skinstad cost as the world cup?

  • Rumbler - 2011-07-07 12:09

    No! No! NO!!!!! I am a John Smit fan but think, with due respect, that his time has come to bow out while he is still on top. PdV worries me - big time!

  • CharlSkeptic - 2011-07-07 12:48

    The Boks are going to win maybe one game in the TriNations and get knocked out the WC at quarter-final stage. I would prefer a Tri-Nations Cup instead of the World Cup. You dont win the TrN through luck and a easy draw, but you can win the WC even through you arent the best

  • peter the gr - 2011-07-07 19:29

    Well...... the wooden spoon for South Africa again!!!

  • jock - 2011-07-07 21:24

    they must be joking

  • GraemeBB - 2011-07-07 23:16

    We had front row problems at the end of last year in Europe. The Sharks and Stormers struggled against the Crusaders. For the life of me, I cant understand why we want to do this. His leadership cant possibly be that intrumental to our cause. The Sharks didnt show the results of an irreplacable leader. I dont want to disrespect John, as I am a fan, but some great sportsman dont know when its time to stop, and leave with a scared legacy.

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