‘Between two fires’: Still much to play for in Super Rugby, even 100 days ahead of World Cup, says Smit

2011-06-02 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Even if there are only 99 days to go before the Rugby World Cup, it’s difficult to focus exclusively on the tournament, says Springbok captain John Smit.

“We are sitting between fires a little. On the one hand the World Cup is just around the corner, but you first have to focus on the Super Rugby tournament to be able to give your best for your team.

“You have to be committed to sacrifice everything for your provincial team to help them to make the play-offs.

“That makes things quite difficult. There is still so much rugby to be played before you could turn all your attention to the World Cup.

“Everybody is in the same boat. The New Zealanders and Australians are also in the position that they cannot yet think about the World Cup.

“As contenders for places in the World Cup squad, we also have to shine for our provincial teams to grab the spotlight.”

Smit believes an important component is that the core of about 25 players that were involved in South Africa’s triumphant 2007 campaign will still be there.

“We will have a lot of experience to bank on and the guys know what it takes to get out on top. That experience is invaluable, but we will also have to come up with fresh ideas.

“We can’t just think that what worked for us then will be good enough to become champions again. There are times that you have to adapt and ensure that you are a step ahead of your main opponents.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how the excitement builds ahead of the tournament. It’s already nice to see how the supporters wear their Springbok jerseys on Fridays.

“It just shows how much the World Cup means to them. It also makes us as players realise that we represent the hopes of the entire country and that the onus is on us not to disappoint them. That is why we will give everything to successfully defend the title.”

 

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