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