Stellies suits Smith down to the ground

PUBLISHED: November 30, 2023

Lock Adre Smith says that playing at the Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch this weekend will suit the DHL Stormers and the pack’s set-piece performance down to the ground.

The imposing second row is looking forward to getting his studs in the turf at scrum-time in Stellenbosch on Saturday.

Having played on some artificial surfaces on their recent Vodacom United Rugby Championship tour up north, the DHL Stormers are relishing the comforts of playing on their own turf.

“It’s brilliant to be back. We hardly saw the sun for the first three weeks. It’s dark and cold on that side, so you appreciate it much more being home. It’s lovely.

“The Danie Craven is a spectacular field to play on, surrounded by mountains, and it allows us to scrum and really execute our set-piece because the scrum doesn’t give way. So it gives us an opportunity to really attack at the scrums. That’s why it’s one of my favourites,” Smith said.

Up against Italian side Zebre Parma, who lost to the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg last week, the DHL Stormers are also looking to get back to winning ways.

“It always makes you a more dangerous team when you come from a loss, but we are in a similar place and we have to pull straight and get back on track,” Smith said.

“I think we have all the artillery that we need in the URC, and we have all the tools to use it, but it’s about chatting a bit more and making sure we execute properly

“The next game is one of the most important games of the season for us, if we want to turn things around. We must just believe in ourselves as a team, come together and work hard,” he added.

Having come off a long-term injury setback last season, Smith is looking to make the most of every opportunity he gets to play in front of friends and family.

“My second season was difficult, because of that long-term foot injury. But I am still enjoying every single moment in Cape Town,” said the 26-year-old. “It is one of the best places in the world.

“My brothers are also here and I see them quite a lot. I have been very happy with the last three years, building friendships in the team, who are great people. This might be a forever place, if it all works out.”

Smith has played five games in the opening six rounds of the season and routinely teams up in a complementary partnership with Van Heerden.

“Ruben and I have known each other for quite some time. We trained together at the Vodacom Bulls. But this year is the first time we have really got to know each other properly as teammates,” Smith explained.

“He is a really, really smart guy. I like him, because he is very straightforward. I think we are forming a very good partnership.

“It’s kind of like a head boy and naughty boy combination. I think we can really build and become great lock partners in the future. He will always be open for a chat, whether it’s lineouts or scrums, he’s always open to a discussion to make it work.

“He is a very good lineout caller and a brilliant player. He has a proper engine on the field,” he added.