John Smit is good and strong enough to play tighthead prop for South Africa against the British and Irish Lions.
JJ Harmse reports for sport24.co.za
While a host of former Springboks have warned that Smit is not the right man to anchor South Africa’s scrum, former Test lock Johan Ackermann believes the skipper is the best tighthead in the country.
CJ van der Linde is no longer an option because of an injury that sidelines him for the next couple of weeks.
Bulls team doctor Org Strauss said he had spoken with Van der Linde, who is seeking a second opinion.
But Strauss feels that chances are fairly good that the prop will have to go for an operation.
Ackermann told Sport24 that he believes Smit will be a success at tighthead prop.
“John’s leadership is of immense value to the Boks. I think he has done well when he played there. I don’t see a reason why he should not be picked as tighthead,” said Ackermann.
“No other prop has put up his hand to make a compelling case. John is the best we have by some distance. I’m happy with him there.”
Smit is facing a thorough test of his credentials when the Sharks and Bulls play one another in Durban on Saturday.
The home side have scrummed very well this year and Bulls tighthead Werner Kruger says they see the match as a huge challenge.
“As far as scrums go there is only one real challenge in South Africa and that is against the Sharks. They scrum very well as a unit and individually they are very experienced,’ said Kruger.
He knows what to expect from Beast Mtawarira.
“We scrummed against one another as juniors. It was easier back then because he was relatively new in the position,” said Kruger.
However, he does not view Beast as his toughest opponent. “Tony Woodcock (Blues) and Heinke van der Merwe (Lions) are strong scrummagers, but it helps to have Bakkies Botha behind me,” he said.Tweet