John Smit voted Best Bok ever


John Smit was voted the top Springbok of all time by Sports Illustrated magazine, even pipping the great Frik du Preez.

Hendrik de Bruin, Beeld

According to SI even legends like Frik du Preez (player of the 20th century), Naas, Botha, Danie Craven, Mannetjies Roux and Francois Pienaar are not in the same class as the Sharks’ Bok captain.

A panel analysed the Bok careers on the basis of the impact they had on SA rugby and then offered “thousands of readers” the opportunity to vote.

Some ex-Boks who landed on the list themselves raised an eyebrow when the heard the result of the vote.

One of them, on condition of anonimity, burst out laughing.

But Francois Pienaar, captain of the 1995 side that won the Webb Ellis Trophy said it comes as no surprise that Smit is voted tops. Pienaar is 12th on the list.

“He lead the side in difficult years and worked wonders. He deserves it,” Pienaar said.

The Top Ten behind Smit is Frik du Preez, Os du Randt, Victor Matfield, Naas Botha, Danie Gerber, Percy Montgomery, Joost van der Westhuizen, André Joubert and Mark Andrews.

Others on the list are Uli Schmidt (13), Mannetjies Roux (17), Morné du Plessis (21). James Small (27). Hennie Muller (33), Kobus Wiese (35), Boy Louw (39), Danie Craven (42), Morné Steyn (64), Butch James (75), Chris Koch (86), Ryk van Schoor (96) and Abie Malan (97). Jannie de Beer ends the list on 100.

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  1. Dawie has bought the mag and should be able to supply the complete list. I wonder where Carel du Plessis finds himself?

    No science involved here, just interesting, and nice for debate.

  2. I would personally have gone for Os du Randt… 2 World Cup medals.

    Allthough Smit has won everything there is to win except the S14/15 – if he and the Sharks could add that… :bowdown:

  3. it’s a farce. there’s no way smit is the best bok ever! only the twitter generation voted and they know sweet buggerall about the history and the calibre of players of yesteryear.

    how many 45 to 60yr olds know where the Sports Illustrated website is or can even find the link to go and vote?


  4. Reply to Morné @ 10:15 am:

    Yes, leave now and don’t spoil your reputation.
    In fact, you should have left end of 2009.
    You’re not even first choice with your own team
    Worst thing a sportsman can do is to try and
    hang on too long.

  5. Reply to CooleyHigh @ 9:52 am:


    The predominant players are all those from the last twenty years and if you think that top 10 is weird then you must see some of the selections…

    Jannie Breedt FFS?

    The oke played like three tests as a Bok or something ridiculous like that…

    I’ll give you the list now… ??? means I disagree he should even be on the list

    100. Jannie De Beer ???
    99. Ian McCallum
    98 Piet Visagie
    97 Abie Malan
    96 Ryk Van Schoor
    95 Tommie Bedford
    94 Piet Greyling
    93 Jannie Breedt ??????
    92 Bennie Osler
    91 Andre Vos ??????
    90 Theuns Stofberg
    89 Joe van Niekerk ??????
    88 JP PIetersen ??????
    87 Robbie Fleck ???????
    86 Chris Koch
    85 Krynauw Otto ??????
    84 Doug Hopwood
    83 Burger Geldenhuys ??????
    82 Joggie Jansen ??????
    81 Danie Rossouw
    80 Wahl Bartman ??????
    79 Andre Snyman ??????
    78 AJ Venter ??????
    77 Michael Du Plessis
    76 Wynand Claasen ??????
    75 Butch James ???????
    74 Pieter Hendriks ??????
    73 Pierre Spies ??????
    72 Gert Smal ??????
    71 Corne Krige ??????
    70 Johan Heunis ?????
    69 Moaner Van Heerden
    68 Robbie Kempson ??????
    67 Jan Boland-Coetzee
    66 Adrian Garvey ??????
    65 Cobus Visagie ?????
    64 Morne Steyn (am undecided about this one)
    63 Guthro Steenkamp
    62 Francois Steyn ?????
    61 Beast Mtawarirra
    60 Pieter Muller ????
    59 Stefan Terreblanche ?????
    58 Louis Moolman
    57 Gysie Pienaar
    56 Dawie De Villiers
    55 Divan Serfontein
    54 Hennie Le Roux
    53 Tiaan Strauss ??????
    52 Hannes Marais
    51 Jannie Engelbrecht
    50 James Dalton ?????
    49 Japie Mulder
    48 John Gainsford
    47 Pieter Rossouw
    46 Syd Nomis
    45 Joel Stransky ??????
    44 Bob Skinstead
    43 Breyten Paulse
    42 Danie Craven (should be #1)
    41 Erol Tobias ??????
    40 Bismarck Du Plessis ??????
    39 Boy Louw
    38 Rob Louw ?????
    37 Gerrie Germishuis
    36 Rassie Erasmus ?????
    35 Kobus Wiese ?????
    34 Jan Ellis
    33 Hennie Muller (should be in top 10)
    32 Mof Myburgh
    31 Bakkies Botha
    30 Balie Swart ???????
    29 Chester Williams ?????
    28 Henry Honnibal
    27 James Small
    26 Ruben Kruger
    25 Jean De Villiers
    24 Jaque Fourie
    23 Juan Smith
    22 Ray Mordt
    21 Morne Du Plessis
    20 Gary Teichman
    19 HO De Villiers
    18 Andre Venter
    17 Mannetjies Roux
    16 Bryan Habana
    15 Schalk Burger
    14 FDP (should ALSO be in top 10)
    13 Uli Schmidt ??????
    12 Francois Pienaar
    11 Carel Du Plessis
    10 Mark Andrews ????????
    9 Andre Joubert ??????
    8 Joost
    7 Monty
    6 Danie Gerber
    5 Naas Botha
    4 Vic Matfield
    3 Os
    2 Frik Du Preez
    1 John Smit


  6. Off the top of my head

    Paul Roos
    Dougie Morkel
    Phillip Mostert
    Gerrie Brand
    Jan Lotz
    Chris Koch
    Okey Geffen (has there ever been a better front row for us than Koch and Geffen?)
    Hansie Brewis
    Tjol Lategan
    Felix Du Plessis
    Salty Du Randt

    Will return in ten and add more… just need to think a bit…

  7. IMO that means the amateurs would be better… seeing as they did it part time so had to rely on natural athleticism to perform…

    But if Bakkies took a punch from Jaap Bekker or a tackle from Frik Du Preez he’d be “out injured” for six months and the disciplinary committee would ban Frik for life and 25 years…

    Different strokes…

    The number of tests cannot possibly determine whether you were or were not a great JT… that is a seriously stupid remark…

    As an example by analogy

    The famous Panther tank of WW2 is to this day regarded as the greatest tank of WW2 and probably ever… yet it was only used for two of the six years…

    Same for the jet powered ME 262


    Did I say Hansie Brewis?
    Tjol Lategan
    Jaap Bekker
    Basie Van Wyk
    Johan Claasen
    Tommy Gentles
    Des Sinclair
    Wilf Rosenburg
    Jan Pickard
    Basie Viviers
    Ian Kirkpatrick
    Louis Schmidt
    Avril Malan
    Keith Oxlee
    Tom Van Vollenhoven
    Tiny Naude
    Gys Pitzer
    Thys Lourens
    LOfty Nel
    Ian McCullum
    Joihn Williams
    Piston Van Wyk
    Gerald Bosch
    Kevin De Klerk
    Richard Prentice
    Willie Khatz
    Frans Erasmus
    Rudolph Straueli
    Spurburger Ollie Le Roux



    Add some

  8. As I said

    The old guys were tough because they pushed mine trolley cars underground or carried bales…

    Natural toughness.

    And as I also said… the softies of today wouldn’t last three seconds in a scrum, ruck or lineout without medics from Discovery calling for stretchers…

    Colin Meads played against the Boks with a broken rib…

    Andre Joubert played in RWC 1995 final with broken fingers

    Jorrie Jordaan played against the 1949 All Blacks with a broken nose

    And of course Gary Wetton I think played with a torn open nutsac…

    Today’s salon haired parlour testicle waxed metrosexuals would die on a field with these old guys despite their professionalism

  9. BUT you can judge influence…

    The 1937 Boks taught New Zealand the value of having a strong forwards pack.

    The 1951 Boks was the blueprint the 1971 – 1974 Lions used to beat us and New Zealand

    To this day those are regarded as “great teams”… and no slick ball waxed, starlet slick thighed, hair coiffed, pouting, salon hair done, sponsor clothe dressed little twab with a twitter finger is going to change that…

  10. Reply to DavidS the sort of hopeful Lion @ 11:47 am: hence i said at the beginning this whole shebang is a farce as the people who “voted” were probably on the sports illustrated website to check the latest swimwear pics and whoelse ryan giggs has shagged rather than objective evaluation of the infulence individuals made while wearing a bok jersey!

  11. Reply to JT_Stormers @ 11:48 am:

    Yes you can…

    The rugby rules may have changed a bit… but the required toughness has not.

    Today’s athletes are hard sculpted.

    Yesterday’s were hard from living.

    Think on this

    Danie Craven was the model on which the “utility back” concept was great.

    Danie was also the model on which the BIG scrumhalf was created.

    Danie was also the South African creation that saw that the scrumhalf is the backline decsionmaker and not the flyhalf as in most other countries.

    Amateurism affected professionalism.

    Hennie Muller was the model for players like Bobby Skinstead, Josh Kronfeld, Joe Van Niekerk, David Smith, Laurent Cabanne, Rassie Erasmus and other speedy multirole loose forwards – another feature of South African approach to international rugby.

    Tom Van Vollenhoven was THE original Jonah Lomu..

    Dan Carter and Grant Fox and Michael Lynagh and even Johnny Wilkinson have said that Naas Botha’s approach to practicing and perfection in kicking was the model for them to base their kicking practice on…

    In any event…

    If amateurism was so kak how come so much of it rubbed off on professionalism…

    You’re just stirring

    But there is nothing to stir with

    In your heart of hearts you know I’m right…

  12. Reply to JT_Stormers @ 10:51 am:

    IMO only players that played for the Bokke more that 50 tests should be considered!
    Then Frik du Preez also won’t make it.
    They should have made a distinction
    between amateurs and professionals.
    Or only let those over 60 vote – people
    whose memory span is longer than 10 years.

  13. Reply to JT_Stormers @ 11:25 am:

    ag BS! The pros today are much fitter, stronger, harder! the old days the guys could not play every week like these guys do because they were SOFT!
    Pure bullshit. The guys of old often played TWICE
    a week.
    Jan Lotz in ’37 played 7, missed one, played 11, missed one,
    played 4. That is Wednesdays, Saturdays.
    And there were many other cases like his.

  14. Pretty senseless poll, very broad description. My first though after reading the heading was, “By whom, The School for Peculiarly Gifted in Kirghistan?”
    One can use any one or combination of the following criteria when deciding – caps (considering amateurs & pro’s), fame/reputation/esteem, personality, captain or leader, skills, tries, contribution to rugby and even ‘x-factor’. And that’s naming only a few!
    Then having a list of 100 nogal, stupid really.

    Reply to CooleyHigh @ 9:52 am:
    Reply to Boertjie @ 9:53 am: Reply to DavidS the sort of hopeful Lion @ 10:34 am:
    I agree too.

    Reply to JT_Stormers @ 11:25 am: Guess we’ll never know how the pro’s measure up to the amateurs, now will we.
    Just as you say today’s pace might be too frenetic for the players of yesteryear, today’s players might not be able to adapt to a slower pace, the other smaller rules that have changed since then and of course the tough justice back then.
    Ek stem met onkel D en oom Boer – daai tyd se manne was kliphard al was hulle nie ‘professionele’ atlete nie!

  15. Reply to namboer_STORMERS! @ 1:15 pm:

    seriously: We know how it is to play with and against amateurs who take the game seriously at time, right? I also know how it is to play with amateurs against a proffesional team and the pace is the biggest discrepancy.

    Hardness/toughness this is hard to quantify but I bet the old balle could hold there own for at least 20-30 minutes before they run out of puff even at their peak.

  16. Reply to JT_Stormers @ 1:34 pm:

    No gyms, no science, no weight lifting, assistant coaches
    and the whole squad that nowadays travel with the team.

    Therefore you can only compare them to the best the
    world had to offer when they played, who influenced
    the game, who were feared competitors etc.

    Hennie Muller (8) and HO de Villiers (15) changed the
    whole concept of their positions, to name only two

    Nobody knows how today’s pampered pro’s will fare
    had the conditions applying been the same as those
    of the amateurs of years gone by.

    Athletics, gholf, tennis etc. have very much the
    same problem in selecting and ranking their greats.
    Paavo Nurmi (long distance) still one of the very
    greatest, even if today’s athletes run minutes

  17. Reply to Boertjie @ 1:47 pm:

    same with mountanieering where someone like Reinhold Messner is seen as a great. He was the 1st to go up Everest without oxygen, the 1st to go up everest alone, the 1st to do more than one 8000m on one trip, the 1st to climb the eiger nordwand in 1 day.
    Today the record for the eiger nordwand is 2:47 (Uli Steck) and only 60 years ago it was one of the biggest challenges in the alps

  18. Thanks Boertjie

    My grandfather played for Eastern Transvaal and Air Force (Dunottar was a huge air force base) and he sometimes played two games a week… one for his club and the other his province in one week… and if you think Air Force was weak… they were captained by Captain Felix Du Plessis…

    Given the season was shorter but still… they played two tournaments at the same time…

  19. Reply to JT_Stormers @ 2:28 pm:

    No vote needed – traditionally this title
    belongs to the 1937 Boks.
    Still waiting for the next Bok team that
    wins a series in NZ.
    Or any country’s team for that matter, I think.

    With 1951-52 Boks a close second.

  20. Juan Smith has played quite a few games with serious injuries not too mention concussions…

    FDP plays every game with his serious shoulder problem…

    Victor Matfield played most of the England game last year with a cracked rib…

    Not sure any of the above is the smart thing to do it must be said…

  21. Reply to DavidS the sort of hopeful Lion @ 9:17 pm:

    Players like Juan Smith are at serious risk of brain damage and being punch drunk after all his games continuing with concussion… some players won’t be able to walk properly past the age of 40… and now look at these motor-neuron type probs coming through…

    Just on Schalk… it’s a fallacy the guy is ‘dof’… he’s just a nutter and machine on the paddock… straight A’s in 7 subjects at school on HG and almost completed his degree in viticulture…

  22. Reply to DavidS the sort of hopeful Lion @ 9:17 pm:

    I thought that Schalk had cervical disc damage and not a fracture.

    Reply to bryce_shark_in_oz @ 2:53 am:

    Currently there is no evidence of a relationship between sports injuries and MND. Apparently Cassius Clay’s/Ali’s Parkinson’s disease is related to repeated head injuries.

    Schalk comes across as anything but dof at post match interviews………It’s just the rest of the world that thinks an Afrikaans accent sounds so.

  23. Yesssssssssss Captain Fantastic is the best !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply to JT_Stormers @ 6:12 pm: Some All Black player finished of the game playing with a torn scrotum apparently, think guys were a bit tougher then and very pampered now.

  24. Reply to DavidS the sort of hopeful Lion @ 9:08 pm:

    Doubt it… Burger is one of the toughest Mofo’s to ever come out of RSA… after his injury he should not even be near a contact sport… let alone have the season of his life-time…

    On injuries… I remember reading about Mark Andrews (possibly RWC 95′) have a fist size hole rucked into his calf (on purpose) by the AB’s… think he was stitched up and back onto the field after half-time?

  25. Reply to bryce_shark_in_oz @ 2:46 am:

    You are thinking about the test against NZ in Durban where the Boks made that remarkable comeback. You might be right the person being Andrews, but I thought I read it was Andre Venter… Jake White’s book…

    Teichman (a man of very few words) used this player before going out for the second half to show his players what it means to bleed for the Bok jersey.

  26. I personally think that why would u have a player like him who is kak and seriously over weight being no.1. i mean seriously supersport need to have their butts kicked for putting him at no.1.