KSA Shark ©

Contract clause could see Smit not be a Shark

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Sharks, Springboks on 18 May 2008 at 12:47

The good news for South African rugby fans is that Springbok captain John Smit has been released early from his contract with French club Clermont and will return to Durban this Saturday.

Mike Greenaway reports for the IOL that the bad news for Sharks fans is that Smit will be en route to either the Blue Bulls, Western Province or the Lions – unless the Sharks can resolve a complex situation involving current Sharks hooker Bismarck du Plessis.

Last year, when Du Plessis re-signed for the Sharks, he had a clause installed that holds that he can be released from his contract should Smit return early from France.

Du Plessis, who turns 24 on Thursday, obviously wanted to ensure that his apprenticeship behind Smit was well and truly over and that he would be more or less guaranteed starting time in Durban… or would be free to move to a province where he would be the No 1 hooker.

The highly combative Du Plessis has been one of South Africa’s form Super 14 players, but surely there is room at the inn for both him and the Springbok captain, not to mention emerging talent Craig Burden.

Sharks fans will hope the Sharks can sit down with Smit, Du Plessis and the new coach John Plumtree and work something out so that Smit’s priceless experience is not lost to another province (the Sharks administration has said that it will not comment on contractual issues until the Super 14 is over).

“My heart is at the Sharks,” Smit said on Saturday from France.

“And I am extremely excited about coming home and re-launching my rugby career. I have learned a great deal playing for Clermont in a championship where there is huge accent on forward play, but my desire to play for the Springboks is stronger than ever and ultimately I need to be based in South Africa.

“And if I had a choice that base would be in Durban.”

SA Rugby’s Andy Marinos has done very well to extricate the 30-year-old Smit from his two-year contract, with the only minor hiccup being that Smit must return to France for the weekends of the French championship semi-finals and possibly the final, which means he will miss the Test match against Italy in late June.

“It is difficult to explain how pleased I am to be coming home,” Smit said.

“Very few players get the opportunity to play again in South Africa after having moved to Europe. I feel that I am starting all over again and have the same enthusiasm and excitement I had as a 19-year-old joining the Sharks.”

Smit says that he has a burning ambition to beat the All Blacks in New Zealand for the first time in his career, and the British Lions next year.

We have seen this season how the Sharks have struggled for consistency because of the loss of experience from last year, and the situation could be exacerbated because of the possible loss of tighthead prop Brendon Botha to Ulster and AJ Venter to Western Province.

Botha has been offered a highly lucrative contract by the Irish side and the Sharks and SA Rugby together unfortunately cannot come close, so Botha has a decision to make – foreign shores for a few years and a secure financial future, or the green grass of home.

Venter’s contract with the Sharks is up at the end of this month but he has changed his mind on retirement and wants to play on for another year with a view to moving into some kind of coaching role after that.


  • Just imagine John Playing for the Stromers.

    Suddenly their media will be all confussed (ss is intentional)

    What to do with MUST be BOK Britz now? 🙂 And less calling for Smit to be chopped from the squad. 😆

  • Comment 1, posted at 18.05.08 12:50:59 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • I hope it is just a rumour. Haven’t heard anything on this matter from my source though…

    Bis vs John, I’d choose Bis too.

    If BJ does sign for Ulster, why not contract John though to play tighthead/cover hooker. If it means releaseing a hooker, then tata Skipper. Think he might be a tad too expensive though…

    I have a nasty feeling Smit will end up at Watson Province ironically – just cause of Marinos’ involvement in this matter…

    As for AJ and Western Province, that is a bolter! Surely there is more space for him at the Sharks than WP? WP have huge depth at loose forward – Burger, Watson, Diack, Melck, Myburgh, P.Louw & F.Louw! And surely the NRU would be most accomodating in trying to organise him a coaching role somewhere in their structure – they’ve done that with a number of ex-players! Also can’t see AJ’s wife – Jenna – a born&bred Durbanite sommer upping sticks…

  • Comment 2, posted at 18.05.08 13:11:31 by Le Requinny Reply
  • LOl, say Smit does end up at the Stormers…I reckon we’ll see him at prop if Tiaan Liebenberg is fully fit.

    Schalk Brits should rather decide if he wants to be a flank or centre imo, think he could be more effective elsewhere… A Morgan Turinui-esque centre, perhaps?

  • Comment 3, posted at 18.05.08 13:12:50 by Le Requinny Reply
  • IF AJ did consider going to the Stormers then it would probably be at lock because, as you say, they have plenty loosies.

    Which province doesn’t have an abundance of loosies though.

  • Comment 4, posted at 18.05.08 13:18:32 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 4) :

    look at their locks though, they certainly not weaker in depth than the Sharks:

    Bekker, Fondse, van der Merwe – and I’m sure I’m missing one other. Then you have to add the talented young locks coming through from u21/Maties – the equivalent of Hargreaves & blignaut for us.

    Its just a strange decision. Is AJ Venter very big mates with Rassie? Maybe that is a possible explanation?

  • Comment 5, posted at 18.05.08 13:25:01 by Le Requinny Reply
  • Skeate. So that 4 decent locks. Only Bekker might make the final Bok group too from that lot.

    Very strange…

    You would also hope that the NRU tries to retain AJ for the Currie Cup – his leadership will be invaluable when Muller & Bismarck are with the Boks. Botes – nice guy as he is – unfortunately has that softly-softly captaincy style which isn’t always the most effective…

  • Comment 6, posted at 18.05.08 13:27:25 by Le Requinny Reply
  • @Le Requinny (Comment 6) :


    Also AJ is on a good wicket in DBN, why would he want to move along. We will lose more locks to the Boks than WP so he will have more playing time in Dbn.

  • Comment 7, posted at 18.05.08 13:40:42 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 4) :

    The Spear’s?

  • Comment 8, posted at 18.05.08 14:00:12 by bryce_in_oz Reply

  • Interesting. Curios to see how this pans out. The AJ bit is a bit confusing. Although with his white suit he might just slip into Cape Town unnoticed. 🙂

  • Comment 9, posted at 18.05.08 14:17:37 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Like the way KSA changed the original heading as it appeared in IOL:

    “Contract clause could see Smit join Stormers”

    Surprising that seeing as though it comes from Mike Greenway – a Natal journo…could he know a lot more than the article reveals?

  • Comment 10, posted at 18.05.08 14:34:53 by Le Requinny Reply
  • From the another article on IOL…

    “The scrumming was better with Brian Mujati back at tighthead, but it was still far from perfect, and rumours of a big front-row signing for next season may have substance.”

    Surely not Smittie?

  • Comment 11, posted at 18.05.08 14:37:01 by Le Requinny Reply
  • Let AJ go. Deysel is the future

  • Comment 12, posted at 18.05.08 14:39:09 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • @Le Requinny (Comment 10) :


    The heading could have been Bull or anything else 😉

  • Comment 13, posted at 18.05.08 14:40:52 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Mischief. All mischief

  • Comment 14, posted at 18.05.08 14:41:44 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Smit would look good in a Stormers jersey. 😉

  • Comment 15, posted at 18.05.08 14:44:49 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • At this stage I tend to agree with Rob. A bit of mischief.

  • Comment 16, posted at 18.05.08 14:45:23 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • @racheltjiedebeer (Comment 15) :

    Yeah but the horisontal stripes of the WP Jersey will make him look fat. How will the Cape Media deal with that after calling him over-weight some time ago. 😆

  • Comment 17, posted at 18.05.08 14:47:28 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @robdylan (Sharks Forever!) (Comment 12) :

    Oh yeah, I agree on the latter bit of that. Sh!t Deysel is a beeeg unit, more mobile than I thought.

    I’d be happy for AJ to have a swansong S14 with the Stormers, but would be good to keep him for CC squad. A perfect send-off would be AJ lifting the Currie Cup trophy (in addition to the S14 of course) 😉 !

  • Comment 18, posted at 18.05.08 14:48:01 by Le Requinny Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 17) :

    Man, he’ll suddenly be “lean”…

    But think about it….AJ AND Smitty together again. They are very big mates you know. All they’re missing is Butch, but I’d be happy to swap a 30 year old Buth (next season) for a 25 year old Peter Grant :mrgreen:

    Wonder what no 46 thinks of these rumours?

  • Comment 19, posted at 18.05.08 14:49:43 by Le Requinny Reply
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 17) : As soon as he arrives in Cape Town, he wont be fat anymore, just ‘big boned’. 🙄

  • Comment 20, posted at 18.05.08 14:51:08 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • @racheltjiedebeer (Comment 20) :

    Adding vital bulk to the Stormers front row. 😆

  • Comment 21, posted at 18.05.08 14:53:53 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 21) : 😆 exactly.

  • Comment 22, posted at 18.05.08 15:09:02 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • Festively plump 🙂

    So I’m glad you’re all starting to agree with me about Deysel. Let’s be honest, AJ has actually been crap for 3/4 of the season. Just the last two games he’s looked ok

  • Comment 23, posted at 18.05.08 15:33:27 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • big thing is if sharks choose john over bis, they could lose jannie as well as the two brothers enjoy being in the same team. added to this if the rumours of bj’s departure are true then the sharks could have a real crisis.

  • Comment 24, posted at 18.05.08 15:43:35 by try time Reply

  • what we could have is john be contracted as a loosehead prop. deon can be tighthead backup if bj goes. beast will be starting prop and john come on during crucial final 20 minutes when a cool captain is needed to control the team.

  • Comment 25, posted at 18.05.08 15:47:39 by try time Reply

  • @try time (Comment 24) : All of which leads to the conclusion that the Sharks will keep Bis at all costs. They must.

  • Comment 26, posted at 18.05.08 15:47:40 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • @try time (Comment 25) : Makes sense to me. I know some would disagree, but I see Smit’s future at 1, both for Boks and Sharks

  • Comment 27, posted at 18.05.08 15:49:23 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • of course it makes sense rob, i wrote it. 😉

  • Comment 28, posted at 18.05.08 16:14:54 by try time Reply

  • Keo says it’s either Province or Bulls.

  • Comment 29, posted at 19.05.08 08:38:48 by racheltjiedebeer Reply

  • I was shocked to read this in yesterday’s Rapport…sorry. but I simply cannot imagine Smit playing for any orther team than the Sharks…call it an emotional state of a woman or not…he’s not a Bull and not a Stoem windjie either…to me he will always remain a Shark… 😥 😥

  • Comment 30, posted at 19.05.08 08:45:42 by I'ce (TKMITFM) Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Bit of a conundrum….Loyalty to a loyal Sharks servant who has leader and experience versus the form hooker who one must consider a long term option for the Sharks.

    If they can’t work out a solution to accommodate both (not Smit at prop please!~!), then it as much as it pains me it has to be du Plessis.

  • Comment 31, posted at 19.05.08 09:21:19 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • @Dive Pass (Comment 31) : Agree, it has to be Bismarck.

    Why can’t Smit be an option at prop? If he’s played prop in the French league?

  • Comment 32, posted at 19.05.08 09:28:47 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • @robdylan (Sharks Forever!) (Comment 32) :

    🙂 Do you really want me to beat by drum about him at prop…..I must admit I didn’t watch play there is France but watch any game with him at prop for the Sharks or Boks in the last five years and you will be watching his scrum going backward.

  • Comment 33, posted at 19.05.08 09:37:19 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • @Dive Pass (Comment 33) : again, it’s a question of continuity and specialistion. You can’t spend your life at hooker and then become a prop in five minutes.

    John was a monster of a prop at school. He is also the consummate professional and if he signed a contract with the Sharks stipulating that he would be used primarily at prop, I have no doubt that he would be up to speed in the position in no time at all.

  • Comment 34, posted at 19.05.08 09:41:13 by robdylan (Sharks Forever!) Reply
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  • @robdylan (Sharks Forever!) (Comment 34) :

    Hmmmm I am not so sure….some of those games were back in the days when Putt was playing him 1st half as a hooker and second half as a prop.

  • Comment 35, posted at 19.05.08 09:49:15 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass

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