John Smit

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John Smit
John Smit 2007 med.jpg
Full name John William Smit
Date of birth (1978-04-03) 3 April 1978 (age 36)
Place of birth Pietersburg, South Africa
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 268 lb (122 kg; 19 st 2 lb)[1]
School Pretoria Boys High School
University University of Natal (briefly)
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Hooker, prop
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
1997 University of Natal (Maritzburg)
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2007–08
2011–
Clermont
Saracens
3
46
(5)
(10)
correct as of 20 October 2013.
Provincial/State sides
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1998–2011 Natal Sharks  ? (?)
Super Rugby
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1998–2007, 2008–11 Sharks 125 (40)
Current local club Sharks – CEO
correct as of 20 October 2013.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
2000–11 South Africa South Africa 111 (40)
correct as of 30 November 2012.

John William Smit (born 3 April 1978) is the 50th captain of the South African national rugby union team, the Springboks, and currently CEO of Sharks Rugby. He has played most of his career as a hooker, but played twice for the Springboks off the bench as a prop prior to the South Africa coaching staff's decision to use him as a tighthead prop for the 2008 end of year Tests.[2] On 22 November 2008, he surpassed prop Os du Randt as the most-capped forward in Springboks history. He retired from international rugby following the 2011 Rugby World Cup as the most-capped player in South African history, with 111 appearances.

While still active at club level, Smit was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame on 24 October 2011, alongside all other Rugby World Cup-winning captains and head coaches from the tournament's inception in 1987 through 2007 (minus the previously inducted John Eales).[3]

Biography[edit]

born 3 April 1978 in Pietersburg, South Africa, Smit attended Pretoria Boys High School where he was head prefect in 1996 and played for the school's First XV from 1994 to 1996.[4]

Springbok career[edit]

Smit played his first Springbok game in 2000 at the age of 22, when South Africa beat Canada 51–18 at Basil Kenyon Stadium in East London. Between October 2003 and June 2007, Smit played in a record 46 consecutive Test matches for South Africa, though it was not until 2004, when he was made captain of the squad by then new coach Jake White, that he became a regular member of the starting XV.

Smit's record-breaking sequence of appearances came to an end with South Africa's first match of the 2007 Tri Nations, against Australia, when he suffered an injury that prevented him taking any further part in the tournament. He recovered from his injury in time to take part in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, in which he started in 6 out of 7 South African matches and in which his leadership qualities came to the fore, as his calm under pressure and inspirational captaincy saw South Africa win the William Web Ellis Trophy for the second time.

When Peter de Villiers was appointed as the new South Africa coach in 2008, one of his first decisions was to re-appoint Smit as the captain of the national side.[5] Smit led South Africa in their opening game of the 2008 Tri Nations, against New Zealand in Wellington, but suffered a groin injury when he was lifted and dumped by New Zealand lock Brad Thorn after the whistle had blown: Thorn received a one-match suspension[6] but Smit missed the rest of the tournament, being replaced as captain by veteran Springbok lock, Victor Matfield.

Smit in the Springbok change kit, coming out for a pre-match warmup.

In 2009, Smit led South Africa to a series victory against the visiting British and Irish Lions, and followed this by leading his team to success in the 2009 Tri Nations, in which South Africa won five of their six matches, including a clean sweep of three wins against New Zealand.

In the first test against New Zealand, Smit equalled the record of 59 Tests as captain held by Australia's George Gregan and England's Will Carling. The following week, he became the most-capped captain in international rugby history.[7]

As of September 2009, Smit is one of South Africa's most successful captains ever, having led the Springboks to victory in 46 of the 64 games that he captained, a win percentage of 72%.[8] He has won more Tests as captain than any other Springbok has played as captain.[7]

Smit alongside Prince William and Gethin Jenkins

On 23 August 2010, he played his 100th Test – only the 15th player ever, and second South African to reach that milestone.[9]

After his Springbok retirement his record as captain for the most international was equalled and broken, first Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll in 2012 and New Zealand's Richie McCaw in 2013 equalled and broken his record in South Africa and Japan.

Clermont[edit]

During the run-up to the 2007 Rugby World Cup, he was linked with the French club Clermont.[10] He eventually signed a two-year deal with Clermont, effective after the World Cup.[11] Despite his move to France, the South African Rugby Union announced on 20 February 2008 that he would retain his Boks captaincy.[citation needed]. After just one year with Clermont, Smit rejoined The Natal Sharks and the Super 14 side Sharks.

2009 British and Irish Lions Tour[edit]

Smit captained South Africa in their 2–1 series win over the British and Irish Lions, after winning the first two tests, South Africa eased off and the British and Irish Lions claimed the third with a convincing win.

Matches as Captain[edit]

Matches
Date
Opposition
Venue
Score
Status
Notes
2003
1
24 October Georgia Aussie Stadium, Sydney 46–19 2003 Rugby World Cup
2004
2
12 June Ireland Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein 31–17 Irish Series
3
19 June Ireland Newlands, Cape Town 26–17
4
26 June Wales Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria 53–18 Test Match 1 Try
5
17 July Pacific Islanders Express Advocate Stadium, Gosford 38–14 Test Match
6 24 July New Zealand Jade Stadium, Christchurch 21–23 2004 Tri Nations
7 31 July Australia Subiaco Oval, Perth 26–30
8
14 August New Zealand Ellis Park, Johannesburg 40–26
9
21 August Australia ABSA Stadium, Durban 23–19
10
6 November Wales Millennium Stadium, Cardiff 38–36 Grand Slam tour
11 13 November Ireland Lansdowne Road, Dublin 12–17
12 20 November England Twickenham, London 16–32
13
27 November Scotland Murrayfield, Edinburgh 45–10
14
4 December Argentina Vélez Sársfield, Buenos Aires 39–7 Test Match
2005
15
11 June Uruguay Basil Kenyon Stadium, East London 134–3 Test Match
16 18 June France ABSA Stadium, Durban 30–30 French Series
17
25 June France Boet Erasmus Stadium, Port Elizabeth 27–13
18 9 July Australia Stadium Australia, Sydney 12–30 Mandela Plate
19
23 July Australia Ellis Park, Johannesburg 33–20
20
30 July Australia Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria 22–16 2005 Tri Nations
21
6 August New Zealand Newlands, Cape Town 22–16
22
20 August Australia Subiaco Oval, Perth 22–19
23 27 August New Zealand Carisbrook, Dunedin 27–31
24
5 November Argentina Vélez Sársfield, Buenos Aires 34–23 End of year tour
25
19 November Wales Millennium Stadium, Cardiff 33–16
26 26 November France Stade de France, Saint-Denis 20–26
2006
27
10 June Scotland ABSA Stadium, Durban 36–16 Scottish Series
28
17 June Scotland Boet Erasmus Stadium, Port Elizabeth 29–15
29 24 June France Newlands, Cape Town 26–36 Test Match
30 15 July Australia Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane 0–49 2006 Tri Nations
31 22 July New Zealand Westpac Stadium, Wellington 17–35
32 5 August Australia Stadium Australia, Sydney 20–18
33 26 August New Zealand Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria 26–45
34
2 September New Zealand Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg 21–20
35
9 September Australia Ellis Park, Johannesburg 24–16
36 11 November Ireland Lansdowne Road, Dublin 15–32 End of year tour
37 18 November England Twickenham, London 21–23
38
25 November England Twickenham, London 25–14
2007
39
26 May England Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein 58–10 English Series
40
2 June England Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria 55–22
41
9 June Samoa Ellis Park, Johannesburg 35–8 Test Match 1 Try
42
16 June Australia Newlands, Cape Town 22–19 2007 Tri Nations
43
9 September Samoa Parc des Princes, Paris 59–7 2007 Rugby World Cup
44
14 September England Stade de France, Saint-Denis 36–0
45
30 September United States Stade de la Mosson, Montpellier 64–15
46
7 October Fiji Stade Vélodrome, Marseille 37–20 1 Try
47
14 October Argentina Stade de France, Saint-Denis 37–13
48
20 October England Stade de France, Saint-Denis 15–6
49
24 November Wales Millennium Stadium, Cardiff 34–12 End of year tour
2008
50
7 June Wales Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein 43–17 Welsh Series
51
14 June Wales Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria 37–21
52 14 July New Zealand Westpac Stadium, Wellington 8–19 2008 Tri Nations
53
8 November Wales Millennium Stadium, Cardiff 20–15 End of year tour
54
15 November Scotland Murrayfield, Edinburgh 14–10
55
22 November England Twickenham, London 42–6
2009
56
20 June British and Irish Lions ABSA Stadium, Durban 26–21 British and Irish Lions Series 1 Try
57
27 June British and Irish Lions Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria 28–25
58 4 July British and Irish Lions Ellis Park, Johannesburg 9–28
59
25 July New Zealand Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein 28–19 2009 Tri Nations
60
1 August New Zealand ABSA Stadium, Durban 31–19
61
8 August Australia Newlands, Cape Town 29–17
62
29 August Australia Subiaco Oval, Perth 32–25
63 5 September Australia Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane 6–21
64
12 September New Zealand Waikato Stadium, Hamilton 32–29
65 13 November France Stadium Municipal, Toulouse 13–20 End of year tour 1 Try
66
21 November Italy Stadio Friuli, Udine 32–10
67 28 November Ireland Croke Park, Dublin 10–15
2010
68
5 June Wales Millennium Stadium, Cardiff 34–31 Test Match
69
12 June France Newlands, Cape Town 42–17 Test Match
70
26 June Italy Buffalo City Stadium, East London 55–11 Italian Series
71 10 July New Zealand Eden Park, Auckland 12–32 2010 Tri Nations
72 17 July New Zealand Westpac Stadium, Wellington 17–31
73 24 July Australia Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane 13–30
74 21 August New Zealand FNB Stadium, Johannesburg 22–29
75
28 August Australia Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pretoria 44–31
76 4 September Australia Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein 39–41
2011
77 23 July Australia Stadium Australia, Sydney 20–39 2011 Tri Nations 1 Try
78 30 July New Zealand Westpac Stadium, Wellington 7–40 1 Try
79 13 August Australia Kings Park Stadium, Durban 9–14
80
11 September Wales Westpac Stadium, Wellington 17–16 2011 Rugby World Cup
81
17 September Fiji Westpac Stadium, Wellington 49–3
82
22 September Namibia North Harbour Stadium, Auckland 87–0
83 2 October Australia Westpac Stadium, Wellington 9–11

Missed Matches as Captain[edit]

Date
Opposition
Venue
Score
Status
Captain
2007-06-23 New Zealand ABSA Stadium, Durban 21–16 2007 Tri Nations Victor Matfield
2007-06-01 Australia Stadium Australia, Sydney 17–25 Bobby Skinstad
2007-07-14 New Zealand Jade Stadium, Christchurch 6–33 Johann Muller
2007-08-15 Namibia Newlands, Cape Town 105–13 Rugby World Cup warm-up tests Victor Matfield
2007-07-14 Scotland Murrayfield, Edinburgh 27–3 Victor Matfield
2007-09-22 Tonga Stade Félix-Bollaert, Lens 30–25 2007 Rugby World Cup Bobby Skinstad
2008-06-21 Italy Newlands, Cape Town 26–0 Test Match Victor Matfield
2008-07-12 New Zealand Carisbrook, Dunedin 30–28 2008 Tri Nations Victor Matfield
2008-07-12 Australia Subiaco Oval, Perth 9–16 Victor Matfield
2008-08-09 Argentina Ellis Park, Johannesburg 63–9 Test Match Victor Matfield
2008-08-16 New Zealand Newlands, Cape Town 0–19 2008 Tri Nations Victor Matfield
2008-07-23 Australia ABSA Stadium, Durban 15–27 Victor Matfield
2008-07-30 Australia Ellis Park, Johannesburg 53–8 Victor Matfield
2010-06-19 Italy Puma Rugby Stadium, Witbank 29–13 Italian Test Series Victor Matfield
2010-11-06 Ireland Aviva Stadium, Dublin 23–21 Grand Slam tour Victor Matfield
2010-11-13 Wales Millennium Stadium, Cardiff 00–00 Victor Matfield
2010-11-20 Scotland Murrayfield, Edinburgh 17–21 Victor Matfield
2010-11-27 England Twickenham, London 21–11 Victor Matfield
2011-08-20 New Zealand Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth 18–5 2011 Tri Nations Victor Matfield
2011-09-30 Samoa North Harbour Stadium, Auckland 13–5 2011 Rugby World Cup Victor Matfield

South Africa Honours as Captain[edit]

Rugby World Cup

Tri Nations

Year Result Opposing Team
2004 2–0  Ireland
2005 1–0  France
2006 2–0  Scotland
2007 2–0  England
2008 2–0  Wales
2009 2–1 British and Irish Lions
2010 2–0  Italy

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Aviva Premiership Rugby – Saracens". web page. Premier Rugby. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Ray, Craig (27 October 2008). "Smit must reinvent Bok role". The Sunday Times (Johannesburg). Retrieved 27 October 2008. 
  3. ^ "RWC legends inducted into IRB Hall of Fame" (Press release). International Rugby Board. 26 October 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "Smit coaches present jerseys". Sport24. 20 August 2010. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Smit to continue as Springboks skipper". scrum.com. 20 February 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2009. 
  6. ^ "Thorn banned for one week for bad tackle". Sydney Morning Herald. 6 July 2008. Retrieved 15 September 2009. 
  7. ^ a b "Statsguru / Test matches / Player records (filter: as captain)". Scrum.com. Retrieved 28 October 2009. 
  8. ^ http://www.scrum.com/statsguru/rugby/player/13432.html?class=1;template=results;type=player
  9. ^ http://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/TriNations/Springbok-milestone-watch-20100824
  10. ^ Cain, Nick (29 April 2007). "Player exodus threatens world order". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 30 April 2007. 
  11. ^ "Matfield not lost to SA rugby". News24.com. 3 August 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2007. 

External links[edit]

Rugby Union Captain
Preceded by
Martin Johnson
(England)
IRB World Cup
winning captain

2007
Succeeded by
Richie McCaw
(New Zealand)
Preceded by
Bobby Skinstad
Springbok Captain
2003–11
Succeeded by
Victor Matfield