Springbok star Kwagga Smith cuts an intriguing figure and he has paved the way for an exciting breed of player.

Here we take a dive into the facts that surround the popular and often mystified player.

Everything you need to know about Kwagga Smith

Albertus Stephanus Smith is better known as Kwagga.

He was born on 11 June 1993 and turned 30 before the 2023 Rugby World Cup campaign.

Smith was born near Lydenburg in Mpumalanga and enjoyed a rural upbringing.

He picked up his Kwagga nickname as a child and it just stuck.

Smith told the funny story of how he got his nickname.

“My brother gave me the name,’ he told SA Rugby Magazine.

“A group of foreigners visited our family farm [in Lydenburg] when I was a baby and they asked my two-year-old brother what my name was.

“He only knew animal names, so he told them my name was Kwagga, and from there it just stuck.”

School and Craven week

Like many Springboks, Smith played his formative rugby at high school and enjoyed two trips to the Craven Week.

While attending Hoër Tegniese Skool Middelburg in Mpumalanga, Smith made the Pumas Under-18 side in 2011 and 2011.

Having impressed as a youngster, the Golden Lions snapped up, Smith and took him to Ellis Park.

He wasted little time in impressing at the famous union and happened to break through into a young team playing an exciting brand of rugby.

Sevens and the Blitzboks

It soom became clear that Smith was built for Sevens rugby with his deceptive pace around the park and insane work rate.

He was part of the Blitzboks squad that went to the Rio Olympics and would make 158 appearances for South Africa Sevens.

In 2018 he made his first move abroad to play club rugby.

Kwagga Smith in Japan and Springbok call-up

Smith moved to Japan in 2018 when he signed for Yamaha Júbilo before the team was rebranded as Shizuoka Blue Revs.

The club has been good to him and he has stayed there since.

The Springboks called up Smith for the first time in 2018 under Rassie Erasmus.

From his debut in 2018, he established himself as an integral part of the Springboks ‘Bomb Squad’.

An underrated ball carrrier, Smith has been a near-constant in the Springbok setup since his first call.

Smith has played key roles in both Rugby World Cup triumphs and could still play a part in another campaign in 2027.

He had won 37 caps for the Springboks as of the end of 2023.

Personal life

Ilke Smith (Née De Haas) is his wife. The couple maintain a farm near Dullstroom.

The farm is also home to the Karee Kraal, a rural getaway that fulfilled a lifelong dream for Smith.


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