Currie Cup / 10 July 2019, 6:30pm / Ockert de Villiers
Cast aside and baffled by an apparent snub, Blue Bulls flanker Roelof Smit hopes to get a run during the upcoming Currie Cup campaign.
Smit overcame a run of injury setbacks and came into the 2019 season hopeful of fighting his way back into Springbok contention with the Rugby World Cup looming.
It was not to be with the talented flanker receiving no love from Bulls coach Pote Human, playing a total of 20 minutes of Super Rugby, making a cameo appearance off the bench against the Reds. He had to be content with game time in the lower-tiered SuperSport Challenge.
“It was a very frustrating season, I didn’t expect not to play, but sometimes it is not in your hands, and I thought it was in your hands,” Smit said.
“I don’t have words, that is the only way to describe this year. I didn’t play this year (Super Rugby), and I don’t know why. It wasn’t communicated to me, and I genuinely don’t know why.”
Smit emerged as a top-class flanker who earned a call-up to the Springbok squad for the 2016 end-of-year tour. Plagued by injuries, Smit suffered setbacks with his Bok dream deferred after starting for South Africa in their friendly against the Barbarians. He suffered a torn pectoral muscle which ruled him out of selection for the England Test and the rest of that tour. The injury ruled him out for six months.
The setbacks continued with Smit tearing his MCL in his first game back in a SuperSport Challenge match against the Sharks in mid-2017.
Smit’s comeback in 2018 looked promising, and there were talks of the opensider featuring on the Springbok radar again. But a knee injury against the Brumbies at Loftus cut his Super Rugby season short.
The former Junior Springbok said being sidelined left him dejected, and he believed he could have made a valuable contribution during this year’s Super Rugby campaign.
“It is extremely tough, considering where I came from and the expectations I had for the year, I mean it is a World Cup year, I am 26 which is the prime for a flanker,” he said.
“I was ready to play, I had a calf niggle, but I was fine for the start of the season, then there was just nothing.”
Smit said he hoped to get an extended run during the Currie Cup which kicks off against Western Province in Cape Town on Saturday.
“I see the Currie Cup as the opportunity that I didn’t get this year, so if I get game time I would like to capitalise on it,” Smit said.
“I genuinely look forward to the Currie Cup, in 2016 I played in a Currie Cup final in Bloemfontein which was amazing. I made it into the Bok group for the end-of-year-tour that year via the Currie Cup. I just want to play; it is the main thing in the back of my mind, I just need to get game time and find some form.”