Springbok skipper John Smit will pack down at hooker and not tight-head prop when the Super 14 season kicks off this weekend.
South Africa head coach Peter de Villiers will be disappointed as he is keen to give Smit game time at tight-head – the position in which he envisages the 30-year-old starting against the Lions this summer.
However, with fellow Bok hooker Bismarck du Plessis not yet ready to start a match following a hamstring tear suffered in the November win over Scotland, Smit will be wearing his familiar No2 shirt when the Sharks tackle the Stormers on Saturday.
Smit started the autumn win over Wales with a promising performance at tight-head but was forced to play 75 minutes against Scotland and start against England at hooker after du Plessis’ injury disrupted South African plans.
However, with Du Plessis expected to be named among the replacements for the all-South African clash at Newlands, it may not be too long before Smit is given the practice the Bok coaching staff desires in his new position.
Smit will be playing his first competitive fixture for the Sharks since leaving South Africa for French outfit Clermont Auvergne in 2007.
The 50th captain of the Springboks has already admitted that the primary reason for his return to his homeland was the prospect of leading the Boks against Ian McGeechan’s Lions later this summer.
For information on South African involvement in this year’s Super 14, check out our recent feature by clicking here