John Smit views himself as the “old man” of the Sharks, but will make history on Friday night when he becomes the first local player to represent the same franchise in 100 Super rugby games.
Bulls loose forward Pedrie Wannenburg will join Smit a day later when he becomes a centurion for the Pretoria-based side.
AJ Venter holds the record for playing the most Super rugby games, but his 125 games were for different teams (94 for the Sharks, 19 for the Cats and 10 for the Stormers).
Ollie le Roux, who is unlikely to phone Smit to offer his congratulations for the milestone that is being achieved against the Cheetahs on Friday night, played 108 games. However, 94 of those were for the Sharks and the rest for the Cats and Cheetahs.
Smit criticised Le Roux in his autobiography that was released at the end of last year.
Albert van den Berg played 95 of his 102 Super rugby games for the Sharks and the rest for the Cats.
Venter, Le Roux and Van den Berg all came close to the mark of 100 games for the Sharks, but Smit will be the first to realise the dream. He captained the Sharks 47 times and hopes the milestone of 100 games can be celebrated with a win.
“It will make the occasion that much more special,” said Smit, who made his debut in the erstwhile Super12 against the Waratahs.
“I don’t like these kinds of things because I feel they take the focus off the game. It has been achieved by numerous other players, but I’m proud that I could do it with one team. It makes be believe it was the right decision to return from France,” he said.
Smit played for Clermont in 2007-2008.
Asked about how much fuel was left in his tank, Smit replied: “It’s not just about winning the Super 14, but also the feeling of being part of a team atmosphere.
“I’m still enjoying the camaraderie and also the tough training. You have to be hungry for every game and not just for finals or other big ones.”
As far as highlights are concerned, Smit said it was more about the characters with whom he played than specific matches.
“When I started carrying tackle bags as a youngster in 1999 there were guys like André Joubert, Gary Teichmann and Henry Honiball, and later a new generation with Butch James, Craig Davidson and Trevor Halstead. To think I’m one of the old men of the team now …”
Players with the most Super rugby games: George Gregan (Brumbies) 136, Anton Oliver (Highlanders) 127, Stephen Larkham (Brumbies) and AJ Venter (Sharks) 125.
Srticle courtesy of news 24Tweet