John Smit confirms move to Saracens

2011-07-14 00:00

IT has taken two months, but Springbok and Sharks captain John Smit has finally confirmed that he is to retire from international rugby after the Rugby World Cup and then join London club Saracens on a two-year contract in November.

It was on May 10 that The Witness reported that Saracens had signed the 33-year-old Smit.

Sharks CEO Brian van Zyl confirmed at the time that Smit was on a one-year contract and would be leaving at the end of the season, but said he was more concerned that a story about “our captain had surfaced right in the middle of the Super Rugby competition”.

The Sharks, with Bismarck du Plessis, Craig Burden and Kyle Cooper under contract, are well-served in the hooker department.

Saracens apparently targeted Smit, who can also play prop, after Australian hooker Huia Edmonds was ruled out of contention to join the club after a shoulder injury.

Smit is expected to play a leadership role at the club and provide back-up to the overplayed current hooker, Schalk Britz.

Smit told the Daily Telegraph yesterday that he is determined to inspire Saracens to back-to-back Aviva Premiership titles and said his body is “feeling good”.

“I am hoping to make it to the World Cup and have a pretty good shout there and that will be me [as an international player]” said Smit.

“I have had 11 years with the Boks so I think I have had my fair share and that will allow me to concentrate fully with Saracens,” he added.

Smit (33) says he is looking forward to playing with a number of his former Springbok team-mates at Saracens, such as Deon Carstens, Neil de Kock and Brits.

Smit said on Twitter yesterday, “It’s official, I proudly announce today that I’ll be joining @saracens once this season is over for 2 seasons & look forward to a new chapter.”

Smit leads the Springbok second-stringers on their Tri-Nations tour.

The squad leave tomorrow and play Australia in Sydney on July 23 and will play New Zealand in Wellington on July 30.

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