Springbok coach Peter de Villiers, true to form, marked his arrival in New Zealand with a statement that raised the eyebrows.
Speaking at his first media gathering, after the Boks arrived in Wellington for the defence of their World Cup title, De Villiers said that his captain, John Smit, is the world's best hooker.
Despite having tried to turn Smit into a prop to accommodate his classy Springbok and Sharks teammate Bismarck du Plessis, and then later changing his mind, the Bok coach now feels that Smit is definitely the team's first-choice hooker.
De Villiers made it clear Smit will be wearing the No.2 jersey against Wales in just over a week, after being asked where he would be starting the 33-year-old veteran.
"John is the best hooker in the world at the moment," De Villiers said, adding: "We will be very sensible when we make the selections."
Smit, however, was taking the hyperbole in his stride.
"When I hear the coach talking like that it reminds me of my wife. She thinks I'm the most handsome man in the world as well," he said laughing.
"Obviously I prefer hooker but in the last couple of years I've been playing wherever it's been good enough for the team."
Asked about the rivalry with Du Plessis, who will also play a massive part in the team's fortunes during this World Cup, Smit said he wasn't fazed by the competition.
"It is part and parcel of any Springbok's career. There are always people coming up, but that just keeps you training harder and harder."
But the Bok captain was far more serious when asked how the team would approach their opening encounter against Warren Gatland's men.
"It's a hugely important game. It's the first one of the tournament and we've got a reasonably competitive pool," he said.
"They and us will have spent the last couple of weeks preparing for each other, analysing each other so we'll pretty much know what to expect.
"I think it will be a colossal battle and one that will shape the journey forward for each of the teams. It's a huge task for us."
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