"It is my dream to give back in any way I can" says former Springbok captain John Smit after being appointed to the board of SA Rugby Legends Association

DURBAN - Former Springbok captain and rugby great, John Smit has been appointed to the board of the SA Rugby Legends Association (SARLA).

Announcing the appointment on Friday, SARLA president, Gavin Varejes said, “John’s ongoing commitment to the promotion of rugby at grassroots level and growing the game across the world proves his appointment to the SARLA board has significant synergy and the decision is truly a meaningful one.”

Smit retired from rugby in 2011 with 111 test caps. He led SA to victory in the 2007 Rugby World Cup and in his role as captain, led the Springboks to a series of victories over the British and Irish Lions as well as the Castle Tri-Nations titles in 2004 and 2009. He completed his career having led the Springboks onto the field 83 times.

His excellence on the field was recognised early on being a nominee in the 1999 SA Rugby Young Player of the Year, and then the Players' Player of the Year in 2005 and a nominee as SA Rugby Player of the Year in 2009. Smit was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame in 2011.

Speaking on his appointment to the board, Smit said, “As athletes, when our careers come to a close, we dream of leaving a legacy. My rugby career has been truly rewarding, shaping me into the man I am today and it is my dream to give back in any way I can."

SARLA CEO Stefan Terblanche said that Smit has already put a huge contribution into promoting rugby.

“John is deeply committed to our transformation objectives and we believe that his appointment to the SARLA board is the start of further great things to come,” added Terblanche.

Set up nearly 20 years ago, SARLA's key focus areas are the development of rugby at grassroots level, as well as supporting former rugby legends.

For rugby fans, both John Smit and Stefan Terblanche can be spotted taking part in the Tsogo Sun Amashova Durban Classic cycle race on Sunday, along with other well-known former players such as Breyton Paulse, Adrian Garvey, John Slade, John Allan, DIck Muir and Warren Brosnihan.

Independent on Saturday