Smit signs for Sarries

The man who skippered South Africa to series glory against the Lions will play his club rugby in England next season. [more]

Smit signs for Sarries

The man who skippered South Africa to series glory against the Lions will play his club rugby in England next season.

John Smit has signed a two-year deal with Saracens that begins after this autumn’s World Cup.

And the 33-year-old, who has already tasted European rugby with Clermont Auvergne, insists he intends to make a long-lasting impression with the Aviva Premiership winners.

"My intention is to go Saracens and make a big impact," said Smit.

"Saracens won the Premiership in dramatic style this season having come close last season and that doesn't happen by accident. They have a culture there that is working for them and I believe to defend the Premiership is a sustainable goal.

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"My job is to fit in as fast as possible, earn the respect of the players and immerse myself in the culture."

With 102 Springbok caps to his name, Smit is one of the most-revered figures in the world game.

Having lifted the William Webb Ellis trophy four years ago and gone on to seal a 2-1 series win over Britain and Ireland’s elite two years later, Smit will retire from international rugby after the forthcoming global gathering in New Zealand.

But although he now intends to call time on his international career, the veteran hooker is convinced he still has plenty left to offer the club game.

"I am hoping to make it to the World Cup and have a pretty good shout there and that will be me," added Smit, who first faced Sir Ian McGeechan’s Lions with Natal in 1997 before playing in all three Tests 12 years later.

"I have had 11 years with the Boks so I think I have had my fair share and that will allow me to concentrate fully with Saracens when I link up with them two weeks after my last game for South Africa, which will hopefully be early part of November.

"My body is strong and that is why I have signed for another two seasons. I have been lucky that my body has held up pretty well and I do feel I can make a difference and fufil my role within a team."

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