If there was an award for top impact player at the World Cup in France, then Kwagga Smith must undoubtedly be in the running to walk away with the prize.
Regardless of whether he is in the starting team or provides a momentum injection from the substitutes’ bench; the 30-year-old loose forward does what is expected of him.
And he does it exceptionally well.
One of his best performances in the Springbok jersey was in the last quarter-final against France at the Stade de France.
Smith made his appearance on the field in the 51st minute of the clash and immediately left his mark on the duel.
He made six tackles, advanced 18 meters with the ball in hand and achieved extremely important reverse possession for South Africa.
Yes-no, when the Buck coaches tell Smith to jump, they don’t have to add how high; he is going to do his best to exceed their expectations anyway.
“For me, Kwagga is just Kwagga. This guy who always works hard and gives his all. What he does on the field makes me incredibly proud, but I am most proud of the person he is,” his wife, Ilke, told RNews from France.
But where does he get his strength to overpower Rooster’s child?
“From the farm, of course!” she said laughing.
“Kwagga is a farm boy through and through. He is also one of those people who can’t sit still at all – he ‘rests’ for example when he mows grass or builds a garage shelf or something like that. He works hard physically on the farm and I think that is where his natural strength comes from. I’ve seen him throw a few bags of fertilizer around!”
She is not at all on her nerves when he runs on the field.
“I know before every game that he is right. After we sing the national anthem, I always close my eyes and say thank you: I know the Lord protects him and I am at peace.”
Last weekend’s top performance against France is her favorite game of the tournament to date.
“It was nerve-racking until the very last second. It was very exciting, but also incredible at the same time. I think it was one of the best rugby matches I have ever attended.”
Are the Boks good enough to win the World Cup?
“Natural. The team showed against France that it is made for knockout rugby.”