If you command wisely, you’ll be obeyed cheerfully-Thomas Fuller
Tomorrow night will be a historic night at Kings Park. Barney’s Army will be taking the field against the Sharks, a game I have wanted to see since it’s announcement earlier in the year. It will see one of Durban’s most loved sons take the field one last time at his former stomping ground to play a game against his former club.
John started his career in rugby in 1994 at Pretoria Boys High and after being shot down he took the trip to Durban a few year later, made his debut for the Sharks and the rest you can say is history. Smit appeared in over 200 games for the men in black and white in both Super Rugby and Currie Cup and was made the captain of the Springboks in 2002. He is the most capped International Captain in World Rugby and also the most capped Springbok with 111 outings for his country.
He served his country with distinction. I always knew from the moment I first saw him play that he would develop into something unique. Two years ago, Supersport aired a behind the scenes look at the British and Irish Lions tour, and during the second test SA was trailing. John had to speak hard words with his chargers but they took his words, went out and gave the BIL’s a second half beasting.
Not everything has gone according to plan in his career. And he has had to live with a harsh amount of criticism. I believe that he was one of the best players in his position in the world and that he bought with it, a huge amount of calm, experience and guidance. And I don’t see any other way then for him to bow out against his former employers, after all, the game will be played to raise awareness for his charities. Such is the character of the man that he invited some huge names to Durban, the likes of Dougie Howlett, Phill Waugh, Dan Vickerman, Brent Russel, Shaun Sowerby, Rory Kockett, Butch James, Peter Dixon and Victor Matfield to name a few
Bobbi Bear, Chris Burger Petro Jackson Players Fund and LIV Village will receive the proceeds from not just the attendance of the game but also the proceeds they have raised leading up to the game. John commands respect and he has already lured in some huge sponsors, Supersport, Superbru, Adidas, Vaseline, Land Rover, Castle to name a few has pledged their support to this worthy cause.
I wish John all of the best for his future endeavours and would like to thank him for the huge contribution he has made in South Africa and everything he has done on and off the field for his country. I wish with all my heart I could be there.
My Madiba of the Springboks….