So pleased to see that John Smit is not talking about hanging up his colossal boots any time soon. The Bok skipper revealed in an interview that he has one eye on the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand. As good as this news is for the Springboks, it’s even better for the Sharks.
Ever since his short stint at Clermont, Smittie has taken somewhat of a back seat in Durban, seeming unwilling to step on the toes of either coach John Plumtree or new skipper Johann Muller. The rise of HMS Bismarck, together with his erudite sibling, seem to have demoted Smit’s role at the Sharks to that of much-loved mascot, if not some sort of lawn ornament. For the Sharks to stand any chance of performing up to scratch over the next few years, that will need to change and they will need to ensure that Smit is elevated to the position in the squad that he deserves.
Let’s face it – John is the greatest captain of the modern era and he should be captaining the Sharks whenever available to do so. Fellow blogger Morne made a great point of this before the Super 14 and I foolishly chose to ignore his warning. Fact is, he was right and as nice a guy as Joe Muller is, he just isn’t Smit’s equal when it comes to on-field leadership. Nobody is.
Secondly, John Smit has shown the value of his hooker play by simply not being there. Sure, Bismarck is all fire and brimstone and high work rate and what-not, but the fact remains that his appealing neglect of so many of the basics of the game (like retaining the ball in contact), as well as a disciplinary record that is the stuff of nightmares, makes me wonder whether we’ve actually gained anything by promoting him ahead of Smit, at either provincial or national level. Smit, meanwhile, has moved one space to the right and has shown that he’s probably a better tighthead than the other du Plessis as well. So why, exactly, are we moving the great John Smit around to accommodate two other players, neither of whom are anywhere near as good as he is anyway?
Is it perhaps because the notoriously petulant du Plessis crew have threatened to throw their toys – as well as themselves – out of the Sharks cot should their demands not be met? A hard to please lot, I’ve heard that they may soon be on their way anyway, meaning this whole argument might just become moot.
This article is not about them, though – it’s about John Smit. Long may he continue to grace the black and white shirt with his enormous presence. Come home, captain, your team needs you more than ever!Tweet