Aviva Premiership
Smit linked with Saracens switch
ESPNscrum Staff
May 9, 2011
South Afirca's John Smit calls for the ball, Springboks training session, Fourways High School, Johannesburg, South Africa, July 20, 2010
Smit could be plying his trade in the Aviva Premiership following this year's Rugby World Cup © Getty Images

Springboks captain John Smit could be in line for a move to English side Saracens following this year's Rugby World Cup.

The 33-year-old, who is set to spearhead South Africa's defence of their World Cup crown, is currently playing for the Sharks in the re-vamped Super Rugby competition, but is reportedly poised to move to the Aviva Premiership at the end of the year.

Reports of a high-profile switch surfaced last week and while neither Saracens nor the Sharks have confirmed the deal, Sport24 suggests that the 102-Test veteran will move to London to take up a player-coach role on a possible two-year contract.

Saracens' CEO Edward Griffiths was reluctant to comment on the matter. "A lot of players are being linked with us, and it's our policy not to comment on it before they have officially signed," he said.

Smit, the most-capped captain in the history of Test rugby, also steered the Springboks to a series victory over the British & Irish Lions in 2009. He has played all his provincial rugby in South Africa for the Sharks, with whom he was a beaten Super Rugby finalist in both 2001 and 2007, and also had a brief spell with French club Clermont Auvergne.

Saracens, who will tackle Gloucester in next weekend's Premiership semi-finals, already boast a significant South African influence. The Vicarage Road-based club, pushing for a move to a re-vamped Copthall Stadium next season, are partly-owned by South African businessman Johann Rupert while a host of players stem from the country, including hooker Schalk Brits - who will challenge for the Aviva Premiership Player of the Year award on Tuesday night.

Others players to have originated in South Africa include Neil de Kock, Ernst Joubert, Brad Barritt, Deon Carstens, Petrus du Plessis and Mouritz Botha while the team's Player of the Season, Namibian-born Jacques Burger, has previously played for the Blue Bulls.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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