High global praise for Blitzbok Kwagga

Cape Town - South Africa’s Kwagga Smith has made headlines across the globe with his outstanding performances in the 15-a-side game as well as sevens.

In November, he turned out for the Barbarians at Twickenham and put in a man-of-the-match performance against the All Blacks.

Smith impressed with his all-round skills and his performance was enough for England’s The Rugby Paper to award him with their Best Individual Performance accolade for the November internationals.

Last weekend, Smith returned from his stint in 15s to shine for the Blitzboks at the Dubai Sevens.

In South Africa’s 24-12 win over New Zealand in the Cup final, the 24-year-old was named the Player of the Final and scored three tries during the tournament.

"It means a lot to win it," Smith told the World Rugby Sevens Series’ official website. "It's always nice to be rewarded for your hard work but it was just great to get back playing with the boys. It was a great opportunity for me to be a part of the system and coach gave me the chance to start in the final. It was a huge honour to play with the guys and to feel the family and the synergy that’s inside that team."

Smith only played four tournaments in the 2016-17 World Rugby Sevens Series campaign before heading off to play Super Rugby for the Lions.

Before last weekend’s Dubai event, his previous sevens tournament was in Sydney in February.

Smith has been juggling both forms of the game for the past four years, something he admitted was not easy.

“But luckily, I’ve been doing it for the last four years. The more you do the better you get at it but for me it complements it. When you go to sevens and then play 15s it helps and when you play 15-man and go to the sevens it helps, so it really helps to make you a better rugby player all round,” he said.

"In sevens your fitness is definitely something that will help you when you go back to 15s and the vision to see the space on a rugby pitch. Then in the 15-man game you learn the physicality because you’re playing against some big blokes and you can bring that to help you on the sevens."

Smith is in Cape Town this week where the Blitzboks are eager to regain their title having lost to England in last year’s final.

"I think that win will be in the back of our heads, but the important thing is to not focus on that," Smith continued. "We have to go and do what we can and do our best and stick to our processes and work hard for each other.”