Smit confirmed as Springbok skipper - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smit confirmed as Springbok skipper

02/05/2011 10:13:40 PM Comments (0)

Hooker John Smit was confirmed as captain of South Africa for the 2011 season on Monday after the world champions completed a two-day Cape Town planning camp.

Lock Victor Matfield will also continue as vice-captain as the Springboks kept faith in the veteran forwards who led them to a 15-6 victory over England at the 2007 World Cup final in Paris.

Smit and Matfield have not been at their best during the first half of this Super Rugby season with the former often playing loosehead to accommodate livewire Bismarck du Plessis as hooker.

But Peter de Villiers, the coach charged with emulating Jake White and leading South Africa to World Cup glory during October in New Zealand, praised the duo after the camp.

"John and Victor have an unbelievable amount of experience and we are fortunate to be able to name them as captain and vice-captain," he told reporters.

"They are outstanding players in their positions and to have both still available in a World Cup year is a great boost for South African rugby. They are hugely respected and have a massive influence on the team.

"History has shown that teams who do well at the World Cup have experience and outstanding leadership and we have learnt in the past that you throw away these qualities at your peril."

Smit, captain of South Africa in 76 of 102 Test appearances, said he was "humbled by the faith the coach has placed in me and the duty to our country that comes with it".

Another two-day camp is scheduled for Durban in mid-June as South Africa gear up for the Tri-Nations series with New Zealand and Australia before launching their World Cup defence on September 11 against Wales.

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