Lashing the Lions

Losing to the British & Irish Lions would result in a lifetime of regret for Bok captain John Smit.


In the Lions tour collector’s edition of SA Rugby magazine, the Bok captain reveals how his fear of failure drives him to success.

‘I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t scared of failing against the Lions. The fear of failure is with me in everything I do. I’m sitting here talking to you and feel that fear creep up inside me. But I’ve learnt that it’s how I manage that fear that will determine my success or failure.’

Smit says he doesn’t want to end up like Percy Montgomery, who was part of the Bok team that lost to the Lions in 1997, and never got the chance to put things right.

‘You have to understand how fine the line is between a lifetime of regret and having an enduring memory of success in a Lions series. I can’t imagine what it must be like for Monty, one of the greatest Springboks in history, to know that he’ll never ever have the chance to beat the Lions in a series. I don’t want to live with that sort of regret …’

Smit also talks about his time with the Boks as a 19-year-old in 1997 and what he learnt from their loss to the Lions. He also explains why he’s so loyal to Peter de Villiers, how the Boks will approach the Lions series from a tactical point of view and whether he’ll be able to hold his own at tighthead.

Also in the new issue:

Jake White picks his Bok XV to face the Lions in the first Test in Durban

– Peter de Villiers on why Brian O’Driscoll should have been the Lions’ captain, the Bok game plan, whether he would have picked a fit Butch James and adjusting to the global ELVs

oconnell1– Paul O’Connell is expecting the biggest challenge of his career when he leads the Lions in South Africa – but he is confident they can shock the Boks

– Former Springbok captain Gary Teichmann and the Rolls Royce of fullbacks André Joubert were at the frontline when South Africa lost to the 1997 Lions. Over a beer or two, the pair chat about past mistakes and how John Smit’s Boks can avoid history repeating itself

– The Springboks have played the Lions in 43 Tests across 12 series since the teams first met in 1891. SA Rugby magazine relives some of the most memorable moments

– What John Smit’s side can learn from the All Blacks’ 3-0 series win against the Lions in 2005

– While Shane Williams has struggled to reproduce the form that saw him named IRB Player of the Year in 2008, he could still prove to be the Lions’ most lethal attacking weapon in South Africa. So what makes the Welsh winger so special?


– Victor Matfield on facing Paul O’Connell, why the Lions tour is so special, playing under the global ELVs, and his future plans

– The Sharks are finally tapping into KwaZulu-Natal’s black rugby talent

– The Stormers began this season believing they could reach the Super 14 semi-finals and even go on to win the competition. So what went wrong?

– Wynand Olivier on his outstanding form, being ‘Mr X’, getting back into the Bok side and Bryan Habana’s struggles

– Former Springbok prop Cobus Visagie has hung up his boots but will continue to work with Saracens while running his business

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