Springbok Kwagga Smith has confirmed that he has agreed terms to play for Japan-based club Yamaha Jubilo for the next two years.
Smith has been plying his trade in Japan since 2018, but has revealed he has been in talks with the Lions and Sharks about a possible return to South Africa. However, the negotiations fell through amid the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent national lockdown.
In an interview with Rapport, Smith explained that he eventually decided to extend his contract with Yamaha Jubilo because they had added a clause which will allow him to play for the Springboks if he were to be selected in the Test squad.
‘It’s a big advantage to play overseas and be granted permission to play for the Springboks,’ Smith said.
‘My goal is to play against the British & Irish Lions next year. It’s my big dream and I’ve placed all my focus on that. I’ll be working hard to achieve it.’
Smith did explain that the uncertainty surrounding rugby’s return to play also contributed to his decision to walk away from any potential deals with the Lions and Sharks.
‘It has been an uncertain time for the sport industry,’ he said. ‘Nobody knew what the future held for the sport here [in South Africa]. But because the start of the pandemic coincided with the end of the Japanese Top League season, we knew for certain that the competition would resume in December or January.
‘I knew I’d be able to play there, but at the same time there was no certainty about what was going to happen in South Africa.’