Is John Smit the new villain of SA Rugby?

A few years ago there was an episode of South Park that featured Mickey Mouse as a brutal dictator of the Disney empire.  While Mickey presented a smiling, cuddly personality to the public, behind the scenes he ruled with an iron fist, crushing all dissent.  During the Currie Cup final when the camera panned to a chuckling John Smit in the stands, I couldn’t help but wonder if Barney is the new evil Mickey Mouse of South African rugby?

Could the formerly innocent Sharks prop now be a ruthless Gaddaffi?  Hardened and embittered by years of clinging to power as the Springbok captain, after years of exile in the North, he returns to SA rugby and orchestrates a coup in the Sharks Rugby Union?  His return ushers in the return of Jake White, the shadowy whispering “adviser”.  High profile departures happen shortly after his arrival. His former assistant coach at the Boks Coetzee is easily felled in their first real contest of consequence.

I say, it’s about time.  South African rugby needs a new villain.  We are oh so weary of the 20th century’s Afrikaans versus English vibe, and beyond that there is only mega rich fat cats or BEE type figures that could possibly fall into the category of worthy rugby administrator villain. Perhaps a brutal Mickey Mouse, crushing dissent and rivals to the throne that gets the non-Sharks part of the country’s blood boiling is just what is needed to renew interest in the local competitions.

Sadly for the Western Province rugby, it looks like their scheming villain at the top of the organisation is merely an incompetent Dr Evil.

mickeyjohn

John “Comandante” Smit: My people love me…

After the roller-coaster ride that was Sundays’ game Big Daddy Rugby was fortunate enough to be granted a private audience with none other than the Springbok Captain, John “Comandante” Smit.

The informal chat took place in a bunker deep below the Wellington “Cake Tin” stadium where the beleaguered Captain was holed up with a few of his bodyguards and a couple of bottles of his favourite Old Brown Sherry.

The atmosphere in the room was tense and we were instructed beforehand that eye contact was to be kept to an absolute minimum and to ensure that we addressed him as “Comandante” at all times.

It’s been a tough last few months for the 2007 World Cup winning Captain, with a growing number of fans back home becoming more and more disgruntled with the state of the national team, and in particular his dismissal of mounting global pressure to step down from the team and head off into exile.

When asked about his suitability to lead the Springboks at this World Cup he laughed loudly and said “We put our fingers in the eyes of those who doubt that the Boks are ruled by anyone other than its people”.

Asked to clarify this statement he shot back: “They love me. All my people with me. They love me all. They would die to protect me”.

He seemed unconcerned about the pressure being applied by Bismarck du Plessis for a starting place in the team, and spoke of fans calling for his retirement as “It is betrayal, they have no morals! Let them be eaten by hungry dogs!”

The “Comandante” also alleged that those questioning his importance to the team “were under the influence of drugs supplied by outsiders” and that they are unable to think like “normal rational human beings”.

Unfortunately, that was pretty much all we were able to get from the “Comandante” on this occasion. As the mood lightened and the conversation started to flow so to did the Old Brown Sherry. Lots and lots of Old Brown Sherry in fact. We’re still not entirely sure if it was Smokeys’ attempt at the Macarena or Silas’s challenge to a “stare down” that tipped him over the edge, but regardless the “Comandante” was not impressed and our nice little chat came to a rather abrupt end…which is maybe something that the “Comandante” might want to consider for himself, no?

Comandante Smit: Taking half time team talks to the next level...

15 reasons to feel positive about the Boks

For those of us who are tired of all the negativity surrounding the Springboks at the moment, I thought I’d put on my limited edition SuperSport presenters shirt and give us fans a list of the positives that can be taken from Saturdays game.

I’ll approach this from a player level and hopefully show that it’s not all doom and gloom for the Boks at the World Cup just yet.

– 15 France Steyn – (see what I did there?) Sporting his fabulous new avant-garde cinema nouveau look, we’re at least guaranteed not to be the ugliest team in the competition. It’s edgy and mysterious and I like it! Fingers crossed Dick pulls him aside and mentions the “weight” issue though. Fattie and Arty may rhyme but that doesn’t mean it’s a good combo looks-wise for a Springbok.

– 14 JP – I’m pretty sure he played. In my Corenza C / Black Label induced haze I remember him being pinged for holding on, but other than that he was a ghost. If you’re not involved it’s hard to be penalised right? Good thinking by the coaching staff…next up the “stealth try!”

– 13 Jaque – Looked like he was actually trying. Good use of hand signals and shouting instructions at team mates. Attempted the “Element of Surprise” move fairly well by running from his own in-goal area in the first half, which almost had Dick choking on his boerie roll.

– 12 JDV – Great display of passion when singing the National Anthem. He’s also taller than Pat McCabe.

– 11 Habana – Good tackle on the little Aussie number 9 in the 2nd half. Also managed to break one himself in the first 40, something he hasn’t done in the last 8 tests. Looks better with a little stubble too. It almost makes the opposition take him seriously.

– 10 Butch – Only missed one kick AND managed not to get a yellow card. Bonus! Also managed to keep things predictably simple for his fellow back line players by doing pretty much the same thing whenever he got the ball.

– 9  FdP – Picked up from where he left off by being more interested in talking to the ref than actually playing the game. Continued in conversation with Bryce on Twitter afterwards too. All part of the bigger picture and the Boks “Ref Management” strategy for the World Cup.

-8  Spies – Was an animal out there! A medium-sized domesticated animal sure, but still! Had a couple of good runs whilst we had a scrum. Get ready for those energy drink ads again.

– 7  Danie – Helped a lot of the guys carry their kit bags from the bus to the changing rooms. No one does donkey work quite like our Danie.

– 6  Heinrich – Made a turnover, didn’t get injured and scared the crap out of the Aussies with his best Tasmanian Devil impression.

– 5  Big Vic – Clearly all the hard work done on his kicking has paid off! Slotted into the backline seamlessly. Also managed to sound marginally better than Stransky in the post match interview.

– 4  Bakkies – Didn’t get carded or cited after the game. Responded to being spear tackled early on with great restraint and only the use of his elbow.

– 3  The Good Doctor – Looked WAAAAY better than John at prop when he came back on late in the 2nd half. And people say he can’t really scrum?! Kept Bryce guessing as to who was going to ground first in the early engagements. Job done.

– 2  Gaddafi – Smit – line-out throwing was good. selflessly allowed the team to almost get going again by going off injured towards the end of the game.

– 1   The Beast – Kept the crowd interested, made a few tackles, made a few runs, looked the best in the new BMW shorts.

Add to that the fact that we “only lost on the scoreboard” and, well, we’re surely on the right track folks. Glory is just around the corner.

A glimpse into the future: John Smit at the 2015 World Cup

What to do with old man John Smit?

A photo of John Smit taken during his more youthful days as a Bok captain.

With Pieter De Villiers announcing today that John Smit would be the captain of the Bok team that heads to New Zealand one question more than any other is on supporters’ minds:

How exactly will John Smit be used in New Zealand?

Sure, we all know he is the greatest leader of rugby players this country has ever produced (hat tip to Francois Pienaar) and an all around nice guy (hat tip to you John Smit), but the impressive performance of both Bismarck Du Plessis and Deon Fourie have made many question whether Smit would make it as first choice hooker on playing ability alone.

I think we can agree, probably not.  He is being picked because he is to the Bok team what Yoda was to Luke Skywalker. Bloody important. The Bok team just isn’t the same without him. They crumble into jelly legged Straeuli-era shadows of themselves without the ice-cool leadership of Barney.

So here are some options for PdV when it comes to finding a spot for our Yoda:

  • Start with Smit at hooker and move him to prop for the 2nd half when Bismarck Du Plessis is brought on.
  • Start with Bismarck and bring on John with ten minutes to go – or at any hint of a choke.
  • Waterboy and kicking tee bringer-onner.  He could always whisper his magic words into the Bok huddle at that point (“Afraid of yourselves, do not be” or words to that effect)
  • Team Mascot – Victor could bring him out out of the team tunnel during the run-on and John could sit at the half way flag giving icey-stares to opposition players and performing secret hand-gestures to Victor Matfield throughout the game.
Well… I hope Rassie and PdV are working on some combination of the above.  Any other ideas?