Lions pushing Super 14 stars forward

Springbok skipper John Smit believes his fellow countrymen are using this year's Super 14 as a platform to push for a chance to face the Lions. [more]

Lions pushing Super 14 stars forward

Springbok skipper John Smit believes his fellow countrymen are using this year’s Super 14 as a platform to push for a chance to face the Lions.

Smit, who will lead the world champions in their three-match Test series against the Lions in June and July of this year, believes that every South African player is desperate to be given an opportunity to face Ian McGeechan’s tourists.

"I think that every single player that plays Super 14 from a South African point of view realises that every game is important to put your name forward to get an opportunity to play against the Lions which only comes around every 12 years,” Smit told Sky’s The Super 14 Show.

"It’s massive. That’s why I think there have been such fantastic performances from the players who will play a key role in that series.

”It’s a massive opportunity and certainly one where guys know they have got to give everything.” 

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Having captained the Springboks to the pinnacle of the international game in 2007, Smit now has his sights firmly set on achieving another unique landmark – one which comes around even less often than a World Cup.

"The one area where the Lions tour is different from any other tournament or Premiership or Super 14 is that you don’t get another chance the next weekend or the next year,” added Smit.

”You only get a chance every 12 years. So we have to take inspiration from that last tour and know that the responsibility lies with us who will play to turn it around."

Smit may not have worn Springbok colours since the November tour of the UK but, with his Sharks side currently top of the Super 14 standings, he certainly isn’t short of either confidence or form.

The Sharks beat the Hurricanes 33-17 last weekend and now face a trip to the Cheetahs before playing four successive home games.

"We knew coming into the game (against the Hurricanes) that it was going to be our toughest challenge so far and it took some time but eventually after about 50 minutes we scored two tries to help us earn five points that I think are going to be invaluable going forward.

"But it doesn’t get any easier. The more you win the more people want you to win and the more you need to. The top-half of the table is pretty congested so there’s a lot of pressure going forward.

"We’ve certainly made the most of how we’ve travelled and taken advantage of the opportunities given to us. We enjoy each other’s company and have got a pretty good vibe going.

“You get belief directly from how you perform; we had a successful pre-season in which we trained pretty hard and then when results start going your way your confidence and belief grows.

"But we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and make sure that we keep working going forward."

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