Smit focused on task at hand
August 20, 2010
John Smit addresses his Springbok team-mates ahead of their clash with the All Blacks © Getty Images
With New Zealand in Soweto this weekend hoping to clinch the Tri-Nations title, South Africa captain John Smit freely admits that he could not have hoped for a better game in which to make his 100th appearance in Test rugby.
However, the 32-year-old hooker insists that arresting a three-game losing streak is of greater importance to him than celebrating a personal landmark.
"It's going to be an awesome experience," said Smit. "I've been blessed in so many ways throughout my career, and Saturday is just another example. There is only one team I could have picked to play in my 100th game, and that's the All Blacks. But the result is certainly more important than one guy running out for his 100th game."
Indeed, the Springboks are under intense pressure to perform after twice being outplayed by the All Blacks in New Zealand before being overrun by the Wallabies in Australia. Smit knows that Saturday represents an ideal opportunity for the under-fire world champions to begin the healing process.
"We were well below our best (in New Zealand and Australia) and we only have ourselves to blame for that," he said. "We don't win too many when we travel there, but the kind of results we got were very disappointing.
"The All Blacks haven't changed a whole lot since last year, and I think the big problem is that we've allowed them to play more. We've identified that our execution let us down. It's important that we prevent them from playing the way they want to."
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