John Smit believes that unless you’ve been in the front row, you’ll never have an appreciation of his world.
“It’s a special place, a special science,” Smit told the media. “No one understands it unless you’re over 100kg and you’ve been smashed in there. It’s amazing how the contest is like a boxing match. You size up your opponent, see if there’s a weakness on one side or the other of the front-row and it’s a big physical encounter. It’s almost like the frontlines of the armies from the olden days where the poor guys who didn’t get to sit on horses … they have to go in first with the spears.
“That’s us. We’re a different kind of breed. You can’t really write books about the blokes but they’re interesting guys to sit around a table with.”
Bok coach Jake White, a former hooker and now well over 100 kilograms (sorry Jake but that’s insider info), agreed with his captain and that’s why a player like Os du Randt remains so vital to the Boks’ cause.
White said that you couldn’t fast track Du Randt’s experience or buy it online. And that’s an edge the Boks have over the inexperienced international front rowers on Saturday.
“It’s one area of the game where experience is so much more important than it is in other positions because things happen in the front row,” White said. “Unless you’ve been there for a long time, it can take you a while to adapt to the little tricks of the trade. There’s no doubt Os is still one of the best props in the world and he’s played over a long period. That must be an advantage for us. He’s a guy who’s won a gold medal at the World Cup. He’s been there, done that, so I put a huge premium on that.”