South Africa v Australia, Tri-Nations, August 8
Smit taking nothing for granted
August 7, 2009
Springbok skipper John Smit is taking nothing for granted as they prepare to face Australia © Getty Images
John Smit has played down his Springboks' explosive start to the Tri-Nations, maintaining that the hard work will begin once they board the plane for their away leg of the tournament.
After seeing off the All Blacks in consecutive Tests, Smit's side take on Australia in Cape Town on Saturday in their final home game. The Springboks then travel to take on the Wallabies in Perth on August 29.
With Australia having lost their only game so far, against New Zealand in Auckland, many spectators have already earmarked the Springboks for their first title since 2004.
"Everyone outside of our team has put our name on that cup already," he said. "We haven't really done anything yet except for the norm. It's expected that you have to win your home games. We're far from saying anything about the series yet.
"You only start to claim for the title when you get on that plane. It's how you travel that really matters."
Smit praised the Wallabies' diligent preparation for Test matches, saying that the men in gold usually do a better job of analysing the Springboks than most. They have had to do that without coach Robbie Deans this week however, the former Crusdaers coach returning to New Zealand following the death of his father and linking up with the squad on Wednesday.
"What we can expect on Saturday is what we have been getting from Australia for the last couple of seasons. It will be a tough Test match which could go either way.
"The Australians have different strengths to other teams. They have good players, they prepare well, they do their homework and they dissect South African rugby a little better than most. They have ideas on how to play us and how to play around us. They engineer their preparation a bit better than most teams."
Like the Springboks, Australia have a healthy blend of youth and experience, a fact not lost on Smit.
"Australia have a number of stalwarts, but if I have to single out there are a couple of guys. We were talking about George (Smith) the other day and in those 100 Tests we can't remember when he had a bad game. He is just so consistent.
"You can put Stirling (Mortlock) in the same bracket. Around that pair they also have a number of quality players. Under Robbie (Deans) they have emphasised the all-round effort and evolved, so we can expect what we've got from them in the last couple of years - and more."