Kwagga Smith has put his sevens career on hold in order to pursue his ambition to play for the Springboks.
Smith played for the Blitzboks in the first four tournaments of the World Rugby Sevens Series before returning to the Lions for Super Rugby duty. In February he was named in coach Neil Powell’s 12-man squad for the Commonwealth Games, which will take place at the Robina Stadium in the Gold Coast, Australia, from 13-15 April.
But on Tuesday, the loose forward made himself unavailable for sevens selection in the near future, including the Commonwealth Games.
Smith says his decision to focus on the Lions’ Super Rugby campaign, is due to teammate Jaco Kriel’s injury setback and his own ambition to play for the Springboks. The Lions are short on loose forward options, after losing both Kriel and captain Warren Whiteley to injury.
‘My goal for the next two years is to become a Springbok. I want to wear the green and gold in fifteens, and for me to achieve that, I need to play as often as possible for the Lions,’ said Smith on Tuesday.
‘I want to give myself the best chance I can to play for the Boks, and go to the World Cup, and that obviously means me playing as often as possible for the Lions.
‘We sat around a table and spoke about it. If Jaco was fit and ready to play, then it would have made sense for me to go with the Blitzboks to the Commonwealth Games. He is injured now, so it doesn’t help if I go there and also get injured; that would hurt the Lions,’ he explained further.
’Neil knows what my goals are, and now that Jaco is out, I’m not going to be released for the Commonwealth Games. This is my decision, it makes sense.’
Smith also confirmed that he signed a one-year contract extension with the Lions, which will see him play for the side until the end of the 2019 Super Rugby competition.
Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
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