The Sunday Times reports that John Smit has successfully negotiated a deal with the Sharks, and should be back for the Currie Cup.
Details remain very sketchy, but it appears that the Bok captain will return to France to play until the French Top 14 Final, if Clermont make it that far. As a result, Smit will miss the 21 June test against Italy. However, if the report is to be believed, he will will return to South Africa and the Sharks before the Tri-Nations kicks-off.
The Sharks certainly could have done with Smit’s talismanic presence and big physical presence this season, when a lack of robustness amongst the forwards was one of the biggest reasons for their fizzling out despite much expectation.
In addition, Smit seems fitter and quicker than he has for some time, and the fact that he has (yet again) been vindicated and celebrated by the Bok coach can only lead to even better performances from the big guy.
Smit has had unfair questions asked of his character, and been subject to unwarranted criticism before, as a result of the murky politics that inevitably surrounds Bok rugby. The fact that he has been whole-heartedly embraced by the black coach widely viewed as a champion of black rugby should mean that he will be spared some of the inane and unjustified pressure he has had to face for the last few years. The thought of a John Smit who can save his energies solely for enemies on the rugby field is surely one to savour, for Bok supporters anyway.
Update: We’ve just had this news confirmed by a fellow Sharks member of the Bok squad. Smit has signed for the Sharks.Tweet