Kwagga Smith says he can’t wait to return to Test rugby when the Springboks clash with the All Blacks in Wellington on Saturday.
Smith will earn just his second Test cap on Saturday, after making his Bok debut in the one-off match against Wales in Washington DC last year.
The 26-year-old is coming off an outstanding Vodacom Super Rugby season for the Lions, where he top-scored for the Johannesburg-based team with seven tries in 11 matches before suffering a hamstring injury in the latter stages of the tournament.
‘I don’t think I can describe my excitement for the weekend’s Test here in Wellington,’ Smith said.
‘I’ve played against the All Blacks in the colours of the Barbarians but that was a different game and a very different week leading up to that match. For the Barbarians, you would have a fun week and really just one training session on the Thursday or so. That is very different compared to the buildup to a Test match between South Africa and New Zealand, especially for this match in Wellington.
‘I am not going to be scared to make a mistake. It can happen to anyone. For me, it is just to do what I can do best. I know I can do it. I have played against all those players in Super Rugby.’
Smith said his excellent form this year has mostly been down to consistency, rather than trying to alter the way he plays from last year.
‘I haven’t really done anything differently,’ Smith said. ‘Consistency is key. For me, the more games you play, the better you get and the more confident you become.
‘Everything builds up to where I am now. It makes you a player. Everything contributes to where you are now. As a player, I am really excited and just looking forward to the game. Obviously I have heard from the boys about last year and previous years. Every guy experiences it differently. So it is going to be really cool to run out at Wellington.’
Smith will form the loose-trio combination with match-day captain Duane Vermeulen and blindside flank Pieter-Steph du Toit.
‘Duane is an awesome player and I have looked up to him since I was a schoolboy player,’ explained Smith.
‘It is a real honour for me to play with him, while Pieter-Steph is also a really good and hard-working player. I think the skill set between us three is well balanced. However, I have an important job to do and I have to do my job for them to do theirs. I will give it my best shot on Saturday against the world’s best team.’
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