One of South Africa's most consistent forwards and his all-round play made him a regular fixture in a back row of Schalk Burger and Danie Rossouw during the victorious Rugby World Cup of 2007. His blonde looks and durable physicality have led to many comparisons to another Springbok from Bloemfontein in André Venter.
Smith made his debut for South Africa as a replacement in the 29-25 victory over Scotland in Durban in 2003 and made a further appearance in the second Test a week later. His first start for the Springboks came in the Tri-Nations match against Australia where he was no 8.
His first taste of Rugby World Cup action came in 2003 when he played in four games in a tournament where South Africa lost in the quarter-finals to New Zealand.
Smith played only once for South Africa in the 2004 season before regaining his regular position in the 2005 campaign which also brought success for the Free State Cheetahs as part of the Currie Cup team who defeated the Blue Bulls.
He captained the Cheetahs in 2006 which was the first year the provincial team had been accepted into the expanded Super 14 tournament. He notched his 50th cap for South Africa when he played in the Tri-Nations match against New Zealand at Newlands in August 2008. That match was also marked by the 100th appearance of full-back Percy Montgomery.
In 2009 he played all three Tests for South Africa against the British & Irish Lions as the Springboks won the series 2-1.