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August 19, 2010

Posted on 08/19/2010

Warrior instincts make Smit a worthy centurion

Writing in the Irish Independent, Peter Bills heaps praise on Springboks hooker John Smit on the eve of his 100th Test cap.

"On YouTube there is a short sequence where New Zealand's giant 1.95m, 115kg lock-forward Brad Thorn catches the ball and starts to run forward. In the blink of an eye, this huge man is suddenly hurled backwards. Springbok captain and hooker John Smit has hit him so hard in a tackle most of the air in the two men's lungs has been sucked out by the impact.

"Smit, who has been playing top-class rugby since the last years of the last century, has subjected his body to gruelling physical torture. Hence our respect for a man who, this Saturday in Johannesburg, will win his 100th Test cap for the Springboks, 74 as captain, which is a world record.

"Smit becomes just the second South African to win 100 caps after Percy Montgomery. But the latter was a full-back, far removed from the constant physical excesses of Smit's role. Never in the course of those 100 caps has he taken a backward step. The punishment he has willingly inflicted upon his body is unimaginable to most human beings."

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