Smit: Tri-Nations and World Cup a big ask
ESPNscrum Staff
May 12, 2011
South Africa skipper John Smit reflects, South Africa v Australia, Tri-Nations, Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein, South Africa, September 4, 2010
John Smit believes that winning both the Tri-Nations and World Cup is a big ask © Getty Images

John Smit believes that the southern hemisphere superpowers will have a battle on their hands to ensure that they do not burn-out at the Rugby World Cup.

The Springboks skipper is concerned that the winners of this season's Tri-Nations, which concludes just two weeks before the big one in New Zealand, will have peaked too early.

"There's a fine line because obviously the Tri-Nations is valuable preparation for the World Cup, but you need to be physically ready to add value at the World Cup," Smit told Reuters.

"One perspective is that no team has won the Tri-Nations and then the World Cup in the same year. The peaking scenario is mostly mental, but you have to make sure your body can follow through on that.

"The team that wins the World Cup will be the one that understands the pressure and uses that to their advantage. I think 25 of the 30 players who won the World Cup in 2007 can still go out there and play for us."

In 2007, months before Smit captained his side to the World Cup in France, a shadow South African side competed in the overseas leg of the Tri-Nations. Smit admitted that they will also likely be using their squad on this occasion given the demands of Super Rugby.

"You would like to field your best XV for the Tri-Nations, but it depends on how burnt-out they are after Super Rugby," he said. "There's certainly a different stance in this year's Tri-Nations because you want to win it, but it's a hell of a tough competition to win at the best of times. You don't have much choice, more than 22 players are going to play in it and then you'll see what's left over and what state they're in at the end of it."

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