Smit was one of a number of players who returned from overseas clubs to have a crack at adding a Lions series victory to the World Cup triumph the Springboks recorded in Paris in 2007.
He initially left South Africa and headed to France after leading his country to their second World Cup victory in 2007, but has admitted that it was the lure of playing against the Lions that forced him to quite ASM Clermont Auvergne and go home to Durban.
It was the same for veteran lock Victor Matfield, who turned his back on Toulon after one season. Others turned down lucrative overseas contracts to ensure they had the chance of playing against the Lions.
And, after two long years for Smit and a number of his players, the vital moment has finally arrived for the two teams and the Springbok captain says his players are ready to make history.
Here the Springbok skipper gives his verdict on what lies ahead for his team and the Lionsâ0¦
John Smit (green shirt) can't wait to get the Test matches underway
Smit on the long wait
â00Weâ00ve been waiting 12 years for this. It is a big occasion and there will be a sigh of relief when everyone wakes up on Saturday morning because the waiting will be finally over.
â00The anticipation, coupled with the pressure of the occasion, means there is huge excitement. The rarity of the series is another factor, as is the fact it means so much to the players of both sides.
â00Now we can only hope and pray the quality of the game will match the excitement and anticipation of the past two years. We have to pay respect to how important these three games are and do them justice.â0
Smit on the Lions
â00Weâ00ve all seen some pleasant rugby played by the Lions and not exactly what weâ00ve expected. They have a widespread attack and theyâ00ve shown they want to create space and width.
â00Theyâ00ve got Brian Oâ00Driscoll who can carve through the middle and theyâ00ve got a good kicking game as well. Theyâ00ve picked a phenomenal team that could bring all types of games to the ABSA Stadium.
â00They havenâ00t just come here to tackle and hope that that will do the trick. They can attack and defend and Iâ00m sure they will be happy with the way they are coming into the game.â0
Smit on the hype
â00We can only hope the game matches the hype that has been created. Because of the rarity of the occasion the hype has been bigger than for many other Test matches.
â00It is going to be hugely contested over the next three weeks. There is so much at stake for both teams because there wonâ00t be many players left in 12 years time from either side to try again.â0
Smit carries the hopes of a nation into the series with the Lions
Smit on coming home
â00Two years ago I made the decision to come home when I could have stayed in Clermont and played the World Cup final over and over in my head and seen how wonderful that was.
â00I chose to come back here and be part of a Springbok machine that still needed some work. The World Cup was phenomenal, and there wasnâ00t much sleeping going on in the last two weeks because of the pressure, but that competition comes up every two years.
â00Most of the Springboks will get another chance or two to play in the World Cup. Whatâ00s coming up now will be a one off.â0
Smit on 1997
â00There was no injustice in 1997. The 9-3 try count was irrelevant because it didnâ00t commute to a win for the Springboks.
â00Weâ00ve had to watch that drop kick for quite some time, but 1997 in rugby terms is a lifetime away from us.
â00This is the last real old school series left. We donâ00t go on a ship and travel for weeks on end in another country. This is the last old school tour and it is important that rugby holds onto those traditions.
â00It keeps the moral fibre of the game strong. It is not just our series â00 this is a part of more than 100 years of history.â0
Smit will lead the Boks into action at the ABSA Stadium this Saturday
Smit on the forward battle
â00Itâ00s going to be hot and steamy in the front row. All the fat boys will tell you the clichÃ© that it all starts and ends up front. I still believe it has an impact.
â00There are some old and new campaigners in the forwards. Itâ00s an area that will be a priority for me and Iâ00m looking forward to it. Itâ00s a nervous occasion only because of how important it is.â0
Smit on the Boksâ00 preparations
â00The biggest fear of any coach or captain is wondering if you have covered every little detail going into a big game. Weâ00ve had two very productive weeks and the starting line-up has had pretty good rhythm. I think we have covered all bases and itâ00s going to be a question of how we apply the practical with the mental.
â00You get into a situation as a captain where you try to freshen things up because weâ00ve been together as a squad for a long time. Theyâ00ve all heard me give the same â00Braveheartâ00 speech over and over again, but there is not a lot Iâ00ve felt Iâ00ve had to do in terms of motivation since weâ00ve been together.
â00Thatâ00s all because of the importance of whatâ00s coming up. It has made my job much easier and the squad has been buzzing.â0