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John SmitIt is being speculated that John Smit is being considered as possible cover at hooker for the start to the Stormers season.


The name of Springbok World Cup winning captain John Smit is being circulated as a possible inclusion in the Stormers squad for the opening Vodacom Super Rugby match against the Bulls in Pretoria towards the end of next month.

Coach Allister Coetzee confirmed at a press conference in Hermanus last week that he was looking for an extra hooker due to the injury that at that time was threatening to put Scarra Ntubeni out for four weeks and threatened to force him to miss the opening game. Since then, however, his worst fears have been realised, with Ntubeni having to undergo an operation on Tuesday that will keep him out until April.

With Tiaan Liebenberg, the back-up Springbok hooker from last year’s Rugby Championship campaign, still unsure of whether he will be able to start the new season due to the injury that knocked him out of the end of year tour and the closing stages of the Currie Cup, that does leave Coetzee in a bit of a hole. His only completely fit hooker at the moment is Deon Fourie, who led Western Province to Currie Cup silverware last season from a position in the loose-forwards.

Ntubeni’s progress was one of the shining lights of the 2012 domestic campaign, so his loss is a big blow.

“Fortunately Tiaan (Liebenberg) is making good progress and we have been pleased to see him back in training and he was able to help out at the lineouts. It looks like he may be ready for Loftus,” said Coetzee in Hermanus.

However, it looks touch and go, and Coetzee won’t want to risk it. The next player in line, WP under-19 star Freddie Kirsten, is a promising forward, but Coetzee won’t want to throw him in at the deep end in a massive Super Rugby derby before he has even played Currie Cup rugby.

That’s where Smit comes in, with sections of the Cape media speculating on Wednesday that WP’s good relationship with English club Saracens, where Smit is currently backing up former Stormers star Schalk Brits, could bring the 33-year-old into the frame on an early season loan basis. Of course, whether Smit would want to play Super Rugby again, particularly for the Stormers, is another story, as he is certainly not a player who needs to experience that competition or prove himself to anyone in South Africa.

The hooking situation aside, the Stormers look in rude health, though much may depend on how Schalk Burger comes through his first couple of games after sitting out almost the entire 2012 season with a troublesome knee injury that some thought might end his career.

Nizaam Carr, Siya Kolisi, Rynhardt Elstadt and Andries Bekker all joined Burger and Liebenberg at training in Hermanus, and Duane Vermeulen is of course back in the mix after sitting out the second half of last year’s Super Rugby campaign.

Add to that the Lions players who have moved down, with Elton Jantjies, Jaco Taute, Ruan Botha and Pat Cilliers bolstering the depth, as does Michael Rhodes, and it appears the Stormers have options that last year they didn’t have.

Perhaps the biggest gain of all though is the growth of some of the young players on the WP books in the space of the 12 months that have passed since last year’s training camp in Hermanus. Back then everyone was talking about young Eben Etzebeth because of his physique, but now the conversation is a different one, with the lock having established himself as one of the best players in his position in world rugby.

It’s a far cry from the last time the Stormers held a media open day at a pre-season camp, when all the talk was about what the Stormers had lost. Back then it was just two days after the shock resignation of Rassie Erasmus as director of rugby, and on the playing side there had been no substantial gains to off-set the loss of stalwart flank Francois Louw and the much spoken of departure of Johann Sadie and JJ Engelbrecht for the Bulls.

Louw would still walk into the Stormers side if he wasn’t enjoying himself so much in England, as he showed during an impressive international season with the Springboks. But Kolisi effectively stepped into the void, and so did Carr before his injury. While Engelbrecht’s star has soared at the Bulls and the Stormers may well approach him to fill the void that will be left when Bryan Habana leaves, Sadie’s has waned, while other players who have left have also been more than capably replaced, as shown by WP’s triumph of depth in winning both the Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup last year.

18 Responses to Super Rugby: John Smit for Stormers cameo?

  • 1

    Don’t do it John.

  • 3

    If a cameo role only, no problem

    Man, wish Schalk Brits could come back

  • 4

    @ Gena_ZA:
    I don’t think that’s practical, given his success at Saracens. They certainly wouldn’t release him at the moment.

  • 5

    Next they’ll be asking Uli Smidt – and thats only because Naka Drotske is currently indisposed.

  • 6

    Kinda wondered if this may come up.

    DON’T DO IT JOHN, NOT for Stormers they don’t like you in the Cape… there is a certain blogger from the Cape (not from this site) that will be a sniper in the crowd there and take a pot shot at you…hehehehehehehe be warned …. don’t do it…. Wink Overjoy Overjoy

    If you want to help out a franchise John come to the Sharks until Bissie is back….. Wink Happy-Grin

  • 7

    Toetie has said he is looking at three hookers – John Smit is not one of them – does that mean that Uli is still in the running?

  • 8

    OK so an update from Alistair Coetzee has denied that they are considering John Smit as an alternative.

    A guy can dream I guess……

  • 9

    Moerse, media F weer alles op

  • 10

    Surely there is an average Canadian playing in an average team in an average competition who could save the Stormers?

  • 11

    They don’t need saving remember, just a safety net and a backup player
    Sad to see their is no such talent locally available

  • 13

    Not even over my dead body. Skinstadt and Smidt stay out of Cape Town. The idea is to attract rugby fans not to repell them with Shark shit

  • 14

    See Stormers have got Bezhuidenhout from the Lions on loan.

    Just read it on Rugby365


    Bezuidenhout answers Stormers SOS

    Fri, 25 Jan 2013 14:34

    He came very highly-recommended by his peers

    Lions hooker Martin Bezuidenhout will join the Stormers at the start of next week, as injury cover in the front row.

    With Siyabonga Ntubeni (shoulder) having undergone surgery this week and Springbok Tiaan Liebenberg (back) still a few weeks away from taking contact, Bezuidenhout will be based in Cape Town until the end of March.

    Lions CEO Manie Booysen said Bezuidenhout at first baulked at the idea of playing in Cape Town, but has reconsidered and accepted the Stormers’ offer.

    Bezuidenhout was left out of the Lions’ matchday squad for their second challenge match of the year, against the Cheetahs at Ellis Park on Saturday.

    Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said Bezuidenhout’s stay in Cape Town could be extended beyond March – depending on the fitness of Liebenberg and Ntubeni.

    Bezuidenhout played his Craven Week rugby for the Leopards, before moving to Johannesburg after school.

    The 23-year-old hooker has represented the Lions at every level – including two seasons of Super Rugby and the victorious 2011 Currie Cup Final when he came off the bench.

    “As I said earlier this week, we needed a hooker with enough Super Rugby and big-game experience and Martin certainly fits the bill,” Coetzee said.

    “He also came very highly-recommended by his peers and we’re looking forward to welcoming him at training on Monday and getting him up to speed with our systems at the HPC.”

    Bezuidenhout will immediately be included in the team’s preparations for next Saturday’s warm-up match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

  • 15

    So if Stormers can get Bezuidenhout on loan could Sharks not get JC Van Rensburg on loan if Sharks need him? I KNOW well enough that JC said he is committed to the Lions, but if we lose Beast to injury or the heart problem then we in trouble, so if we approach JC if we lose Beast and he has a change of heart I am sure he can come. That is only if we lose Beast I am talking about. Think Dell is a top class player and could do well in the place of Chadwick to cover Beast.

    Jeez I rate JC huge, was terrific last year. Huge repect to him as well for staying with the Lions this season. By that he just shows even more how much a top class bloke he is and player.

  • 16

    Losing the Beast would be a bonus Puma. He has been a passenger for some time. Sharks need a specialist coach for the front row because the guys that comes in do not get that secrets and techniques shown to them like they would get over at the Cheetahs. They are being cracked in 10 places by experience front rowers and starting to feel the strain of it.

  • 17

    16 @ Bliksem:
    Bliksem or Spoony.. or whatever you want to call yourself…

    Your rugby knowledge is severely limited, if not totally non-existent.

    Are you smoking something? If so, it is bad shit…. let it go.

  • 18

    @ grootblousmile:
    Why do you say that? I don’t mind if someone throws a insult at me but at least post a reason for it IMO. Which of these guys help the front rowers?

    A player plays for a team -> goes through the mouth and digestive system and takes away your appetite
    After years he will become old and past his best and get replaced or leaves whatever -> you go to the toilet cause your body now wants to get rid of some of that food and you take a shit.

    Hence Shark shit = Shark left overs/has beens


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