Smitty – we salute you!

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 11 Oct 2011 at 06:50
Tagged with : , ,

One of the Sharks most famous and decorated sons will shortly be leaving Durban to embark on a new adventure.

John William Smit first pulled on the famous black and white jersey as a raw 19-year-old when he was a surprise inclusion on the Currie Cup bench for a few matches back in 1997. While it is hard to believe that 14 years later, his cap tally in that most famous of domestic competitions stands at a meagre 61, it is, of course, his achievements on loftier stages that will stand out and live forever in the memory of Sharks and Springbok fans alike. “Barney”, as Smit is affectionately known to his team mates, went on to represent the black and white in no fewer than 125 Super Rugby matches between 1998 and 2011, leading the side in the majority of those, but more significantly, also played 111 times for the Springboks, captaining them on a world record 83 occasions.

Along the way to that milestone, Smit has lifted every conceivable trophy available to the national captain, including the Rugby World Cup in 2007 and the Tri-Nations in both 2004 and 2009.

Smith has decided to call time on his career in South Africa and at the ripe young age of 33 will play out his remaining years for Saracens in London, joining up with former Sharks team mates in Deon Carstens and Bradley Barritt. While the Boks’ early exit from the 2011 Rugby World Cup does offer the slightest possibility that Smit may pull on the black and white once or twice more over the coming weeks, the fact remains, though, that his time with the Sharks is over and that as fans, it is now time for us to say our thank yous…. and our goodbyes.

Sharksworld will arrange to deliver messages of farewell and, of course, of appreciation for all that Smitty has done for us over the last 14 years as a Sharks player and captain. Leave your message to John as a comment here and we will ensure that all (appropriate) messages are delivered to John and his family before they leave.

Farewell, Barney and thanks for all the great memories.


  • The Sharks fans have no idea (or maybe we do) just how blessed we have been to have John as our Captain over the last few years.

  • Comment 1, posted at 11.10.11 06:59:33 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Just wish he had won a super trophy with us..but never less thanks big guy for always being a humble and true player/captain..he is the perfect example of a true sportsman..

  • Comment 2, posted at 11.10.11 07:06:02 by shaniboi Reply
  • Farewell John. I hope the next Springbok captain conducts himself in the same professional manner as you have done throughout your career, and plays with the same determination. Feel genuinely sad to say goodbye to such great servants of Springbok rugby.

    All the best.

  • Comment 3, posted at 11.10.11 07:32:51 by hendrikp Reply
  • Go well John you are a true champion and will be greatly missed,

    In saying this , is John not only finishing aftre the CC season is complete?? just MAYBE he can leave after a CC victory??

  • Comment 4, posted at 11.10.11 08:12:09 by sharks_lover Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • Farewell John. We as ardent sharks supporters will certainly miss you. You are such an inspiration to all and a better gentlemen I have yet to meet. Good luck to you and your family in your future endeavours and I hope that you will some time in the future be back for South African rugby in a coaching/manager position. 🙄

  • Comment 5, posted at 11.10.11 08:16:03 by Ardent Shark Reply

    Ardent Shark
  • About six years ago I had the privilege of meeting John. It was during a dark time for Sharks Rugby. We only won one game for the whole Super12 against the Brumbies, and I met him the day after that game.
    The chat we had was of an absolute leader and he was as positive, cool, and collected as ever!
    That one little 5minute meeting will stick in memory for a long time. Thanx Smitty!!!

  • Comment 6, posted at 11.10.11 08:23:24 by SharksRTB Reply

  • Oh CAPTAIN our CAPTAIN you will be missed dearly 🙁

    Thank you for everything you have done for our SHARKIES and for our BOKKE 🙂

    All the very best overseas…BUT please do come back soon and maybe come coach our SHARKS / BOKKE boys :mrgreen: You are a true leader!!!


    MiSh X

  • Comment 7, posted at 11.10.11 08:34:29 by sharky_MiSh Reply

  • It’s truly a sad day in the not so distant future. The end of an era. The end of a Legend. John, you were humble in victory, victorious in defeat. You took more punches on the chin through critisism than you deserved, yet like a true ambasador and gentlemen you turned the other cheak with dignity. I am sure when you were alone, you would scream that all the glasses in your bar broke, but that only you will know! Thanks for your loyalty towards our beloved Sharks, The Boks and South Africa as a nation. Your legacy will live on – one of SA’s greatest. LEGEND!
    PS. My heart breaks that you were not able to lift the Web Ellis one more time – I wanted you to leave on a high. Silencing all your critics. I am sorry it did not end with a fairy tale ending – other than that, the good through-out your career outshines and outweighs any dissapointment.

    I salute you, Captain!

  • Comment 8, posted at 11.10.11 08:48:48 by Ice Ice Bokkie Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • And as Christopher Robin said to Winnie the Pooh: “Promise me you’ll always remember. You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

    Good luck and may you have loads of fun in your future endeavours!

  • Comment 9, posted at 11.10.11 08:53:01 by Ice Ice Bokkie Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Ice Ice Bokkie (Comment 8) :

    Damn girl, I hope they aren’t handing it to him on Post-It’s.

  • Comment 10, posted at 11.10.11 09:00:21 by hendrikp Reply

  • Goodbye and goodluck to probabely the most famous captain we or the Boks have ever had. An inspiration to the players and fans and people who dont even follow rugby. Very sad to see you go and will miss seeing you on the 6pm flights from Jo burg to Durban in your tracksuit!! (I was the grinning idiot sitting behind you on several occasions)Go well enjoy life and hope to see you take a role in the Sharks setup in the future.

  • Comment 11, posted at 11.10.11 09:07:51 by Caratacus Reply

  • Well done Barney on all your achievements. Good luck for the future and may it be blessed. Cheers El Capo.

  • Comment 12, posted at 11.10.11 09:13:10 by JarsonX Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • @hendrikp (Comment 10) : I always write essays…especially where Johno is concerned! :blush: But Rob knows me by now – he’ll make sure its on an A3! 😆

  • Comment 13, posted at 11.10.11 09:23:05 by Ice Ice Bokkie Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Cheers captain. Its been great growing up watching u all these years. U are a true legend of the game and a hero to south africans. Enjoy your remaining time at sarries but come back to coach the sharks or something one day

  • Comment 14, posted at 11.10.11 09:36:00 by sharkbok Reply

  • @Ice Ice Bokkie (Comment 13) :

    Fair enough. Personally heart broken for them… really think John especially deserved to prove his doubters wrong, and losing in a quarter-final where they won it everywhere besides the scoreboard was not the way he deserved to go out.

    Best captain the Springboks have ever had, period.

  • Comment 15, posted at 11.10.11 09:38:26 by hendrikp Reply

  • You have been an inspiration to many, and will be sorely missed.
    viva la John-John
    viva la SHARKS
    viva la SPRINGBOKS

  • Comment 16, posted at 11.10.11 09:53:03 by Fawkes004 Reply

  • John, any thoughts to coaching the Bokke????

  • Comment 17, posted at 11.10.11 09:53:53 by Fawkes004 Reply

  • Thanks for everything (and there has been so much) John.
    Special acknowledgement and thanks to your parents for helping mould a public figure that we all can look up to.

  • Comment 18, posted at 11.10.11 09:57:44 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • You can replace a hooker ,you cant replace a character . A legend of world rugby

  • Comment 19, posted at 11.10.11 10:00:04 by Talent Reply
  • It’s a shame smit could not prove his doubters wrong especially mark keohane. 🙁

    There are growing calls for Schalk Burger to be captain pppfffttt.

  • Comment 20, posted at 11.10.11 10:05:31 by Muzi Reply

  • This doing the round on FB.

    ” Bryce [Lawrence] is not difficult to communicate with, he just doesn’t seem to listen very well. The one positive is that I won’t ever have to be reffed by him again. ” ~ John Smit ~

    please tell me it is (as i believe it is) a fake quote? John would not be led to saying something like that.

  • Comment 21, posted at 11.10.11 10:27:01 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Farewell Captain and thank you for being such a servant of the game! I hope we’ll see you in some sort of coaching role at the Sharks or the Boks in the not too distant future.

  • Comment 22, posted at 11.10.11 10:36:09 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Farewell to a legend who was often not given his dues by his own countrymen. You will be dearly missed and I wish you all the best with the rest of your career with Saracens.

  • Comment 23, posted at 11.10.11 11:25:38 by war1 Reply
  • Cheers Johno! Thank you for everything you have done for the Sharks and the Boks! Much appreciated. Good luck for the Future buddy. 😎

  • Comment 24, posted at 11.10.11 11:33:02 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • To John: Thank you for the years of service to gave to the Sharks and the Springboks. I know that at time it was not the easiest thing, to get out on a field and give your all. Thank you for the sacrifices that you made, time lost with loved ones and family. Thank you for all the hours of pride filled moments to gave to each and every Sharks supporter. Thank you for being the great leader that you are, for all the experience and knowledge you shared with the new generation players that came after you.

    May you enjoy the new challenges that awaits you. And I’m wishing you and your family the very best for the future. Once again THANK YOU.

  • Comment 25, posted at 11.10.11 11:58:14 by Nita Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 21) : Christo Buchner quoted a similar thing in Beeld – my take is that it was said in a jokingly humorous manner and that cannot be read on paper…Unless one saw his body language and tone of voice – will not be able to say. But what I know of John is that it was said with a twinkle in the eye! “Hy glimlag vir jou as jy met hom praat, maar hy hoor ni mooi wat jy se ni. Ek is baie bly ek gaan nie weer in rygbyloopbaan met hom te doen kry nie”

  • Comment 26, posted at 11.10.11 12:37:17 by Ice Ice Bokkie Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • @Muzi (Comment 20) :

    Who then? Pierre Spies? 😆

    Schalk is one of only 2 players who should even be considered, the other being Juan Smith.

  • Comment 27, posted at 11.10.11 12:49:13 by hendrikp Reply

  • Stilte manne (en dames). Daar gaan `n groot gees…

  • Comment 28, posted at 11.10.11 13:23:51 by rhineshark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Spirit of Rugby
  • All the best John to you and your family.

    Doubt we will see a Springbok Captain as great as you were.

    Hope to see you back someday in a coaching role for the Springboks or at the Sharks.

    One word for John. LEGEND.

  • Comment 29, posted at 11.10.11 15:00:32 by Puma Reply

  • @shaniboi (Comment 2) : Or a cc as captain.

  • Comment 30, posted at 11.10.11 15:10:43 by Honey Badger Reply

    Honey Badger
  • One more thing about John. GIVE THAT MAN A BELLS! :mrgreen:

  • Comment 31, posted at 11.10.11 15:16:02 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @Ben (Comment 31) : *Big Fat “LIKE”*

  • Comment 32, posted at 11.10.11 15:30:00 by Ice Ice Bokkie Reply
    Competition Winner Ice
  • Afternoon SW

    Well there are no words that can tell how we are feeling after the WC2011, we didn’t just loose to the Aussies but we are loosing our most famous player, A CAPTAIN of all time i think John will go down as one of the legends of all time my gran kids will be on the site sometime in the future only just to read or look up the legends of the Sharks when Rob once again gives them a sth to do in the lonely months of December as an old blogger (by that time he should be about my age).

    But go John we will not forget you, you are one of the best and we will miss you, just check in now and then on the best team of all the Sharksworld and chat and give us hell or just sth just so we know you are ok

    Cheers CAPTAIN

  • Comment 33, posted at 11.10.11 17:10:30 by chaz Reply

  • @Ben (Comment 31) : AMEN make it 2 BELLS

  • Comment 34, posted at 11.10.11 17:11:03 by chaz Reply

  • @Puma (Comment 29) : Maybe his son will some day walk in the paths of his father 😆

  • Comment 35, posted at 11.10.11 17:12:01 by chaz Reply

  • Captain John, there is no adequate way to express my gratitude for what you have done for the Sharks, Bokke and SA. Inspiration, legend, and all-round nice guy. May your future be truly blessed, and I hope to see you back in SA soon.

  • Comment 36, posted at 12.10.11 07:03:59 by Culling Song Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    Culling Song
  • Hey John,

    What can we say. Ten or so years is a long time to get used to a face, but I did get used to it and I will miss seeing that grin.

    Thanks for everything you did for Sharks and South African rugby over these years. You stuck with us through thick and thin and you will be remembered as on of the greats.

    Come back one day and see if you can be just as great as a coach.

  • Comment 37, posted at 12.10.11 08:51:41 by Letgo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • Legend, absolute legend! I hope you teach those Pommys how to play rugby (but not too well)

  • Comment 38, posted at 12.10.11 12:23:11 by mafushwa Reply

  • C’mon folks, surely there are more Smit admirers on Sharksworld? Let’s get those messages in and give the Captain the send-off he deserves!

  • Comment 39, posted at 13.10.11 12:53:44 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • John, Teen die tyd kan jy goed Afrikaans praat. Jy was altyd n goeie voorbeeld op die veld , n uitstekende kaptein en ware leier. Die Sharks was bevoorreg om jou by hulle te he en ons jong mense kan baie leer uit jou gedrag. Geniet jou sorgvrye rugby oorsee, maar ek is seker ons sal jou weer in Durban sien. Vra maar vir Stefan, die weer hier is baie lekkerder as enige ander plek. Totsiens en sal jou mis op die veld

  • Comment 40, posted at 13.10.11 15:13:28 by Stef Reply


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