John Smit holds just about every South African test and captaincy record. The most auspicious is that of having captained the Springboks 76 times, a world test record. He has been South Africa's first choice captain since he was appointed by World Cup winning coach Jake White in 2004, and has only been absent on rare occasions because of injury.
John William Smit was born in Pietersburg in 1978 and went to Pretoria Boys High School. He was head prefect in 1996 and played in the First XV from 1994 to 1996. Smit then represented the Blue Bulls at Craven Week, played SA Schools and led the South African Under-21 side to the SANZAR/UAR title in 1999 at tighthead prop.
John Lives in Durban with his wife Roxane, their daughter Emma-Joan and son Tyron, where he plays his provincial and Super Rugby with the Natal Sharks and the Sharks respectively. Smit's biography, Captain in the Cauldron - The John Smit Story, written by Mike Greenaway, appeared in 2009.
He holds Springbok records for most tests as captain (76), which is also a world record; is South Africa's most capped hooker (80) and most capped Springbok forward (102).
Between October 2003 and June 2007, Smit played in a record 46 consecutive test matches for South Africa, though it was only in 2004, when he was made captain by White that he became a regular member of the starting XV.
Smit took South Africa to the 2007 Rugby World Cup and led South Africa to a series victory against the visiting British and Irish Lions for the 2009 Tri-Nations title when South Africa won five of their six matches, including a clean sweep of three wins against New Zealand.
At the end of 2010, Smit was South Africa's fourth most successful captain (after Morné du Plessis, Joost van der Westhuizen and Gary Teichmann), having led the Springboks to victory in 51 of the 76 tests (one drawn) that he captained, a win percentage of 67,1%. He has won more tests as captain than any other Springbok has played as captain.
After the 2007 World Cup, Smit signed a two-year deal with Clermont. After just a year with them he rejoined the Sharks.
Salient facts:Position: Hooker and propClub: Crusaders RFCProvinces: Sharks and Natal Sharks (since 2000);
Clermont-Auvergne, France (2008)Springbok number: 691Test debut: 10 June 2000 versus Canada in East London, aged 22Total tests: 102Tour matches: 1Total Springbok tours: Argentina, Ireland, Wales and England, 2000; France, Italy, England and USA, 2001; RWC in Australia, 2003; British Isles, Ireland and Argentina, 2004; Argentina, Wales and France, 2005; Ireland and England, 2006; Ireland and Scotland, 2007; RWC in France, Wales and Scotland, 2007; Wales, 2007; Wales, Scotland and Ireland, 2008; Wales, Scotland and Ireland, 2009; France, Italy, Ireland and England, 2009Tour captain: Smit was captain of Springbok touring teams to British Isles, Ireland and Argentina, 2004; Argentina, Wales and France, 2005; Ireland and England, 2006; Ireland and Scotland, 2007; RWCin France, Wales and Scotland, 2007; British Isles, 2008; France, Italy, Ireland and England, 2009He was SA Rugby Young Player of the Year nominee in 1999 and voted Players' Player of the Year in 2005.