Kwagga: I couldn’t bench 80kg

Kwagga Smith has opened up about how growing up on a farm gave him a mental advantage that would be key to his success with the Springboks.

Smith was speaking in a wide-ranging interview with RugbyPass, during which he opened up about his formative years spent on a farm in Lydenberg.

At 1.80m and 97kg, Smith has changed perceptions around loose forwards, helping the Springboks win back-to-back World Cup titles in 2019 and 2023.

“Growing up on a farm, you have no choice but to tackle all sorts of challenges that you might not do in a city setting,” Smith told RugbyPass.

“I probably couldn’t bench press 80kg in a gym, but I was workin g in an intense environment, loading 50kg bags onto a 30-ton fertiliser truck, and Lucerne bales onto a tractor trailer whenever we went out into the field. That kind of work can strengthen your body, and particularly your hands, in a very different way. When you’re doing that for hours on end, it can shape your mindset.

“If we weren’t working, my brother and I were out hunting or fishing. There wasn’t a TV in the house or anything like that, so we were always looking for ways to stay busy.

“The mental and physical attributes I gained from those experiences went on to shape my rugby career.”

Photo: Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

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