Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"To continue with the Springboks is a challenge I would never refuse"

By Anele Siwa
20 February 2008

The 25-year-old John Smit will continue as Springbok captain in 2008, that has been announced today.

“Springbok coach Peter de Villiers confirmed Smit’s appointment today; this is after he met with the player in South Africa and more recently in France,” says Rayaan Adriaanse, SA Rugby Media Manager.

“I was very impressed with John and have enormous respect for what he has achieved with the Springboks in the past four years. He is the World Cup-winning captain. He has global respect and he has the desire to add to what was achieved in France last year, says De Villiers.

According to De Villiers Springboks is turning to a new chapter, but he believe that they must build on the success of the World Cup and it made sense to him to further invest in John’s excellent leadership and his capability as a player.

According to Adriaanse, Smit, who is currently contracted to Cleremont Auvergne French rugby club, says he is delighted to be a part of the De Villiers era.

“When we met in Cape Town I was encouraged by the coach’s desire for success and his passion for South African rugby. To be offered the chance to continue with the Springboks is a challenge I would never refuse. I feel honoured to be given further opportunities to lead the Springboks,” added Smit.

According to Adriaanse De Villiers wants Smit to continue his domestic rugby in South Africa and Smit has agreed to do so provided that SA Rugby and his French club Clermont Auvergne can agree on terms and conditions.

“The Springboks will always be my priority but it is important that any move back to South Africa to play domestic rugby, is done in a professional and mature way.
According to Smit the French club have been good to him and they value his wish to play for the Springboks.

“For now my focus is on getting back to match fitness and making a contribution to Clermont’s season,” he added.


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