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Ex-Springboks captain reveals Lions declined act of friendship on 2009 tour

Former Springboks captain John Smit has revealed that the British and Irish Lions declined an offer to share beers with his team in 2009.

After test matches players from the opposing teams often visit one another’s changing rooms to share a few beers, but Smit revealed that this did not happen when the Lions toured South Africa in 2009.

Smit was speaking on Brian Moore’s Full Contact Rugby podcast with The Telegraph and revealed that the Lions actually declined an offer to share beers with the Springboks before the tour had even begun.

‘They almost went out of their way to stay away from us.’

“It was one of the things I thought was disappointing,” Smit said.

“We actually sent out an invite to the British and Irish Lions management weeks before they arrived to ask them into our changing room after each test match to share a beer and they sadly declined.

“We actually didn’t have any opportunity to make any friends. The only relationship I have with some of those players are the ones I have made through internationals with each of their countries.

“They almost went out of their way to stay away from us for that three weeks which I thought was disappointing.”

Springboks Lions

Smit on the ‘rollercoaster’ second test against the Lions.

While Smit was disappointed with the camaraderie between the two sides in 2009, the test matches certainly didn’t disappoint.

The Springboks claimed narrow victories in the first two test matches in dramatic fashion to wrap up the series ahead of the third test, in which the Lions were able to salvage some pride.

Smit, who won 111 caps for the Springboks, ranked the second test with the Lions as the “most intense” match he ever played in.

“That first 40 minutes was probably the hardest 40 I’ve had to manage as a captain. We got properly stuck in at half-time, in terms of getting us to wake up and stick to the plan and restart the test match,” Smit explained.

“It was probably the most amazing, most intense test match I’ve ever been a part of; a rollercoaster of momentum and emotions throughout that 80.”


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