Kwagga Smith targets medal and spot at Lions
Blitzbok forward Kwagga Smith confirmed he was available for April’s Commonwealth Games even though he will be back at the Lions playing Super Rugby.
Smith will return to Super Rugby following the next two World Sevens Series tournaments in Sydney and Hamilton over the next two weekends.
Although he wants to give fifteens a full go in 2018‚ in an effort to break into the Springbok team with an eye to the 2019 World Cup‚ Smith still has the desire to win another Commonwealth Games gold medal and an Olympic gold in 2020.
"I have these next two tournaments left before I go back to Super Rugby and I want to make the best of it‚" Smith said.
"I have told coach Neil Powell I will be available for the Commonwealth Games if he wants to select me. It works out quite well actually because the Games fall on an off-weekend for the Lions in Super Rugby.
"And then the Lions come to Sydney for their Super Rugby tour and I might already be over here‚ which makes it doable.
"I have won a Commonwealth gold medal, but I want to do it again, and also maybe win an Olympic Gold medal in 2020 as well," he said.
"Being a Springbok in fifteens is a huge goal and the reason I am going to play in Super Rugby is to give myself a chance to be selected for the Springboks."
Smith believes that being a dual player in sevens and fifteens has benefited his rugby in both codes.
"Sevens is the best thing I could have done in my career because you learn so much‚" Smith said. "You also get into the senior set-up as an 18-year-old, unlike in a franchise situation where you only start getting into the seniors at 21 or 22.
"I suppose being a loose forward in fifteens and a forward in sevens makes the transition a little easier between the codes.
"You bring your physicality from fifteens to sevens and your speed‚ vision and agility from the sevens to the 15-man game‚ which is a huge benefit."
The Blitzboks are second on the 2017-18 standings with 39 points after two rounds. They trail New Zealand by only two points and go into Sydney as the defending champions.
Former Springbok flank Heinrich Brüssow signed a deal with Northampton Saints last September and will finally turn out for the English club in the coming weeks.
The openside flank has spent most of the past five years playing in Japan with NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes while also featuring in Super Rugby with the Cheetahs for the past decade.
A former SA Rugby young player of the year‚ Brüssow twice won the Currie Cup with the Free State Cheetahs‚ but it was during the British & Irish Lions tour of SA in 2009 that he really burst into the limelight.
After a barnstorming performance for his franchise against the Lions‚ Brüssow featured for the Boks in all three Tests‚ with his tenacious play — particularly at the breakdown — earning him heaps of praise.