In 2004, John Smit became the 51st man to captain the Springboks, having made his debut in the side two years earlier. Born in Polokwane in 1978, he attended Pretoria Boys High, where he was head boy and achieved rugby success from a young age. Smit rose steadily through the ranks, representing Northern Transvaal at Craven Week in 1995/96, South African schools in 1996, South Africa under-21s from 1997 to 1999 and then, eventually, the national team. Since then he has emerged as one of the more successful Springbok captains, managing to win 22 of the 35 games he has played as captain. In 2004, Smit led the side to their first Tri-Nations victory since 1998 and has also enjoyed success captaining the Sharks side. The Durban-based hooker is married with two children and is known for superstitiously wearing only black underwear during matches. Smit has signed with French club Clarmont, a position he will take up after the 2007 World Cup

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