Smit: Money not my motivation
October 27, 2011
Smit was unveiled as a Saracens player on Wednesday © Getty Images
Saracens' new signing John Smit is adamant his move to the Premiership champions is not motivated by money and hopes to make a big impact on the pitch.
Former South Africa captain Smit brought the curtain down on his Springboks career after their World Cup quarter-final loss to Australia and the 33-year-old is keen to emphasise that he has arrived with a view to adding to his medal haul rather than just going through the motions and bolstering his retirement fund.
"There are two types of players who have come here from the southern hemisphere," he told The Evening Standard. "There are the guys who want to come here and make a life here. Those guys have invariably done well and proven to be an asset to their clubs.
"You have had other guys who have come here and sat around and not paid the Premiership that respect. I'm fully aware of that, and it's not my intention. For someone who has played as long as I have, the last thing I want is for people to say I came here for two or three years and just sat around.
"Speaking frankly, there are many clubs someone like me could have gone to, jumped on the boat and seen how far it would take me. Saracens is not that kind of club. This is a dynamic club making huge inroads, and one that has been hugely successful over the past two years."
Despite being able to play along the front-row, Smit faces stiff competition for a place in the side from the likes of Matt Stevens, Carlos Nieto, Dean Carstens and fellow South African international hooker Schalk Brits. Possessing a wealth of experience on the international stage, Smit is ready to impart his knowledge onto the next generation of Saracens players coming through the ranks.
"I'm blessed to have been given a lot of information and skills by players and coaches from before my time, and I don't want to die with all this information inside me," he said. "If there's anyone I can help, or learn from, I'm happy to help if people ask."
And with Saracens lining up a Heineken Cup clash with Biarritz in Cape Town in the early part of next year, Smit is looking forward to helping promote the club in his homeland. Smit said: "From a televised point of view we see far more Saracens games on our local network in South Africa than we do of any of the other Premiership teams.
"It's a team that is widely known around South Africa. This trip to play in Cape Town is another sign of the club expanding and trying to grow to become a worldwide brand and not just a club in England. It's another reason why it is that much easier to choose a club like Saracens."
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