Springbok captain John Smit has warned against jumping to conclusions about the strength of the British and Irish Lions from South Africa’s victories on their triumphant Northern Hemisphere tour.
“If you look at the world rankings, the top three sides are New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. The result have been accurate in that sense,” said Smit, who was speaking to South African daily newspaper Die Burger during a function arranged by Lions jersey sponsor HSBC.
“Whether it counts for anything with regards the Lions, who knows? They still get to choose from four teams (England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland). It’s difficult to take too much from our tour.”
South Africa, however, enjoyed a successful tour, with their 42-6 thumping of England following on narrow victories over Wales and Scotland.
Smit was praised after the England victory for the manner in which he inspired his teammates with his words before the game.
“It’s nice to hear the guys were happy with what was said, but it makes me wonder about all the things I said previously that were never mentioned!” he joked.
“It’s easy to motivate the players to compete against England. They were eager to prove a point.”
South Africa were sharply criticised after their somewhat fortuitous 14-10 win over Scotland at Murrayfield and the players responded positively.
The Boks can now confidently look forward to the Lions’ arrival next year.
“Before we even got on the plane for the tour we had next year on our minds. The tour helped lay a foundation for what is coming,” said Smit.
South Africa put some gloss on their tour with the handsome victory over the English.
They relied on traditional South African strengths such as offensive defence and physical dominance.
“The coach (Peter de Villiers) told us from the outset he would not try to reinvent the wheel. He always knew we had big guys that we could use to our advantage,” said Smit.
“It was satisfying to end the year like that. We’ve bought ourselves some room to do our Christmas shopping!”Tweet