Div must make hard call on Smit

Written by Wesley Weber (wpw)

Posted in :In the news, Springboks on 29 Nov 2010 at 15:52
Tagged with : , , , ,

While Springbok coach Peter de Villiers was rightly accepting acclaim for the Springboks’ convincing 21-11 win over England at Twickenham on Saturday, at least one issue must be nagging at the back of his mind.

What to do with hooker Bismarck du Plessis when skipper John Smit returns from injury?

It’s clear that Du Plessis is not only the best hooker in South Africa, but he’s also the best hooker in the world, with New Zealand’s Keven Mealamu a close second.

De Villiers is in a bind because he can’t possibly make a compelling argument that Smit is a better player than Du Plessis.

Nor can he say that Smit’s influence on the team is greater than that of Bismarck.

The latter, by his sheer physical presence, superb basic skills and manically competitive nature, has a massive positive impact on the team.

The coach and the injured skipper have a strong relationship and healthy mutual respect, which shouldn’t override the obvious facts.

Smit has served with distinction. He’s won everything there is, but like a prizefighter he’s overstayed his welcome.

It’s up to his corner to call time.

Smit should have bowed out after captaining the Boks to victory over the British & Irish Lions in 2009, and left on his own terms.

But his personal desire to earn 100 Test caps, aided by De Villiers’s loyalty, overrode the best interests of the team.

It’s been obvious that Du Plessis has been the better player for at least two years now, which the Bok management tacitly admitted when they tried to recast Smit as a tighthead prop to accommodate Du Plessis in late 2008.

That worked in terms of results, but Smit was never comfortable at No3 despite some good days, such as the first Test against the Lions in Durban.

Du Plessis’s long-term neck injury suffered earlier in the year made it easy to revert to Smit as a hooker.

Smit’s apparent success at tighthead was glossed over.

“Tighthead prop” was never mentioned again in relation to Smit.

But now Du Plessis is back and better than ever.

Only the most decorated South African captain of all time stands in the younger man’s way of cementing his rightful place in the heart of the scrum.

It’s unthinkable that the Bok management will try to convert Smit into a prop again. And therefore it’s a straight shootout for No2 between Smit, the man with history on his side, and Du Plessis, the man of the present and of the future.

In pure rugby terms it shouldn’t be a tough decision.

This article is courtesy ofΒ www.thetimes.co.za and was written by Craig Ray


  • With all respect to Smit whom I admire greatly…I agree with the article.

  • Comment 1, posted at 29.11.10 16:06:44 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • Bissie is only 26, he has a few years ahead of him!!

    Lets wait to see what the year brings before making any calls right now.. Morne Has a good point, injuries and form can change in 8 months

  • Comment 2, posted at 29.11.10 16:12:12 by Richard Ferguson Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Administrator
    Richard Ferguson
  • geez guys… just a week ago, after Bis couldn’t hit a barn door against Scotland and we had Matfield losing his rag with Dickensen, we all agreed that we couldn’t do without Smit.

    80 minutes of an unconvincing win against England and all of a sudden John is surplus to requirements? I’ve heard of fickle, but that’s just ridiculous.

  • Comment 3, posted at 29.11.10 16:15:37 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 3) : It’s not just the last couple of games…it’s been coming for about 2 years now…imo

  • Comment 4, posted at 29.11.10 16:18:58 by Pokkel Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 3) :
    Thanks Rob!!! Couldn’t agree with you more!

  • Comment 5, posted at 29.11.10 16:19:45 by kevmaestro Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 3) :

    We all are a fickle bunch hey..

    I think Matfield is a kak captain, and I would love Smit to lead us in the next World Cup, I just hope it happens at the end of the day.

    Thus my comment on Bis, he can take over the reigns after the World Cup, he has two more World Cups in him!

  • Comment 6, posted at 29.11.10 16:24:23 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard Ferguson
  • I could make a case for playing Bismarck on the openside…

  • Comment 7, posted at 29.11.10 16:26:08 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • Its a tricky one, on the one hand you have (arguably) the greatest captain in the world, of the past few years at least (McCaw is a ****) and on the other, you have the Adam Baldwin’s twin brother… or is it just me?

  • Comment 8, posted at 29.11.10 16:30:03 by Nhumrod Reply

  • Pokkel and Rob don’t let them do it. This is the Cape press and the WP supporters trying to cause division amongst the Sharks faithful πŸ˜‰

    Seriously it will be interesting to see how both the players are managed in the Super 15. Plum could inadvertently have a say on the issue.

  • Comment 9, posted at 29.11.10 16:30:55 by Dive Pass Reply

    Dive Pass
  • @Dive Pass (Comment 9) : so could Tendai Mtawarira

  • Comment 10, posted at 29.11.10 16:37:44 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Smit is always surplus to requirements until the chips are down. Funny thing that.

  • Comment 11, posted at 29.11.10 17:17:05 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish
  • This is utter BS! How can he say Smit’s influence is not greater than Bissie’s? Perhaps on Hooker, but as Captain he has no equal or at least not Bis who can get very hot under the collar…I think this is stirring at its best! Give that man a wooden spoon!

    JS has been doing great at TH imo

  • Comment 12, posted at 29.11.10 17:44:47 by Ice-Cool CC Champ 2010 Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • grant10 is behind this, of that I am sure.
    Turbo reverse!! πŸ˜†

  • Comment 13, posted at 29.11.10 17:52:45 by wpw Reply
  • I lean towards Bissie to be the SA hooker…and NOT Smittie at tighthead either. BUT, Smittie has time to recover from his injury and might come back lighter, leaner, stronger, faster, better. We have a whole S15 to analyse their respective forms. But Bissie has staked a huge claim on the EOYT.

  • Comment 14, posted at 30.11.10 17:59:28 by JustPlainSHARK Reply

  • this i don’t like at all WPW πŸ˜₯ Smit is the best and best in what he does and will see him in the WC 2011 no other Captain will be able to take his place Old Vicky is πŸ˜• he must stay as the BB cap

  • Comment 15, posted at 01.12.10 11:14:34 by chaz Reply

  • @JustPlainSHARK (Comment 14) : eish everytime i c that avatar i c the BB 😳 πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 16, posted at 01.12.10 11:15:32 by chaz Reply

  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 7) : Thats a great idea bearing in mind how thin we are at loose forward and how fortunate we are to have backup hookers like Chilly and Maku.

  • Comment 17, posted at 01.12.10 11:25:10 by Pablo Dinero Reply

    Pablo Dinero
  • We do need Johns captaincy, that is for sure. Maybe we can stick him at outside center. Hes probably a few kilos lighter than Frans Steyn, and the Bok outside center never sees the ball anyway…

  • Comment 18, posted at 01.12.10 11:27:09 by Pablo Dinero Reply

    Pablo Dinero

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