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Mr John William Smit

The Order of Ikhamanga in

Mr John William Smit Awarded for:
His excellent contribution and leadership in the sport of rugby. He captained his country to become world champions, and has been the epitome of pride and commitment.
Profile of Mr John William Smit

Mr John William Smit was born on 3 April 1978 in then Pietersburg (now Polokwane) in Limpopo. He attended the Fields College in Rustenburg in North West and then went on to Pretoria Boys High School where he was head prefect in 1996 and played for the school’s first XV from 1994 to 1996 in a record 56 games.

Smit played his first Springbok game in 2000 at the age of 22, when South Africa beat Canada 51-18 at Basil Kenyon Stadium in East London. Between October 2003 and June 2007, he played in 46 consecutive Test matches for South Africa. In 2004 he was made captain of the squad by the then new coach Jake White. He became a regular member of the starting XV.

Smit’s record-breaking sequence of appearances came to an end with South Africa’s first match of the 2007 Tri Nations (now named the Rugby Championship and includes Argentina), against Australia, when he suffered an injury that prevented him from taking any further part in the tournament. He recovered from his injury in time to take part in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, in which he started in six out of seven South African matches. South Africa won the tournament and Smit had the privilege of lifting the Webb Ellis trophy on behalf of his country.

Not only did he play for his country, but Smit also engaged in charity work. In 2011 he became a founder of the Barneys Army Foundation to raise funds and support the Bobbi Bear (a human rights organisation committed to helping sexually abused children), the LIV Village (home to orphaned street kids) and the Chris Burger/Petro Jackson’s Fund (which assists players who have been paralysed while playing rugby).