Durban based John Smit spent much of his professional career with The Sharks, but it was as Springbok captain that he showed his true value as a world class leader, retiring from international rugby after the 2011 Rugby World Cup as the most-capped player in South African history, with 111 appearances. He was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame on 24 October 2011.
His career started out with The Sharks in 1998, he enjoyed a brief stint at Cleremont in France before returning and then continuing until 2011 before representing Saracens in the UK until his retirement in 2013.
He represented The Sharks on 186 occasions to become one of the most capped players for the province and followed up his playing career directly afterwards by taking over the CEO role at The Sharks.
As a Springbok, he led the team to Tri Nations titles in 2004 and 2009, and he added the Web Ellis Trophy when he captained The Springboks in the 2007 Rugby World Cup. During an international career that extended more than a decade, between 2000 and 2011, he participated in three Rugby World Cup tournaments.
In 2009, he captained the Boks to a series victory against the touring British & Irish Lions, with the Tri Nations success later that year seeing South Africa victorious in five of their six matches, including an undefeated run of three victories against the All Blacks.
His 12 year international career began when he was just 22 years old. Jake White selected him as his regular captain in 2004, and between October 2003 and June 2007, he played in a record 46 successive Test matches for South Africa.
In April 2018, he was elected to the board of the South African Rugby Union as the players’ representative.
When he retired from international rugby, it was as the most-capped Springbok of all time and the most-capped international captain of all-time, having led the Boks a total of 83 times.