Smit still vital for the Sharks

2008-10-17 00:00

A YEAR ago, almost to the day, John Smit was holding up “Bill”, the William Webb Ellis Cup, as captain of the World Cup-winning Springboks; next Saturday, he will watch from the reserve bench when the Sharks take on the Blue Bulls in the final of the Currie Cup.

Smit has played in three games — twice coming off the bench — since his return from an extended injury break, but he knows he will not start in the final.

Head Sharks coach John Plumtree will only announce his starting line-up for the final in the middle of next week, but he is not about to start meddling with a winning combination now and Bismarck du Plessis, fit, fiery and in form, will be at hooker with Johann Muller retaining the captaincy.

Not that Smit has only a bit part to play over the next week. One of the most respected captains in world rugby, his experience and common sense will be invaluable in the tense, highly-charged build-up to the final.

He is also expected to play a major role coming off the bench in the second half of what will be the most physical of finals, when the strength of his scrummaging and his composure — which was missing in the frenetic closing moments of last year’s Super 14 final — could prove significant.

The team chooses itself, and will be unchanged from the semi-final, but Plumtree does have a powerful bench if there are any late fitness problems.

The Sharks have trained as usual all week, while the Bulls took a long weekend, breaking up on Wednesday.

Plumtree told the Weekend Witness yesterday that preparations went very well.

“We had a practice game against the Sharks U19 [they play in the final against WP next Saturday] and that was beneficial to both teams.

“We have no injury concerns and now it’s just a case of ticking off all the boxes as we wrap up preparations.”

The New Zealander said that the next week would be training as usual, “but with a lighter load”.

The emphasis, he added, will be on being as relaxed and focused as possible in the build-up to the game — and steering clear of any stray pieces of soap.

Kick-off next Saturday is 4.30 pm.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.