18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
"My wife asked me why I was so nervous about coming to a new club," said Smit, who touched down in England earlier this week.
"It's like when you leave junior school and you're sort of the main guy and you have to go to secondary school and you become absolute bird terd, really! That's where I am.
"I'm quite happy to let go of everything that was back in South Africa and start again. If I don't, I'll be probably be out of the squad.
"I'm happy to put those perceptions behind, earn their respect and start afresh."
This time last year, the prospect of playing Heineken Cup rugby for a second time seemed a long way off for one of South Africa's most-famous sons.
Tipped to call time on a stellar career after the 2011 World Cup, Smit admits he was thinking about heading down the road to retirement.
But a call from Saracens' chief executive Edward Griffiths changed all that - a call that means Smit may now be able to be build on the three European pool matches he played for Clermont Auvergne back in the 2007/08 season.
"A year ago, I thought I would probably stop playing rugby after the World Cup," added Smit.
"But the body feels good and I still get a huge amount of enjoyment out of training hard, being with mates in a team environment, relying on other people and being responsible for others.
"When I got the call from Edward with the opportunity, it was an exciting one for me. I told my Mrs that she might have to stop her job again and pull the kids out of school! I thought she'd be the one who fought me the hardest but she realises that I enjoy what I do.
"The last couple of years have been tough. As captain of the Springboks, it's life and death every single weekend. To get into a squad that's established, dynamic and looks to me like it's looking to expand all the time, that's exciting.
"I can come here, try and fit in, play some rugby and train hard. It's a privilege and an exciting chapter for me to come into."
As well as his substantial presence on the field, Smit brings with him a wealth of experience that Sarries will no doubt cash in on as far as their growing crop of young talent is concerned.
But while Smit is keen to lend a helping hand to anyone who seeks his advice, the modesty of the man ensures he believes he too still has plenty to learn in London.
And rather than heading here as some kind of rugby mercenary looking to make a quick buck and then bid goodbye to the European game, Smit sees his long-term future at a Sarries side who are planning on making giant strides both at home and abroad.
"I hope it's a long-term thing. That's up to me in terms of how I fit in, how I work and whether I'm successful at doing that," continued the former Sharks skipper who is fully focussed on playing rather than heading into coaching in the near future.
"In a group like this, who've played in two Premiership finals and won one, they've obviously got an environment that's working. If I can fit into that and provide something, then hopefully I can stay for a long while.
"I still try and regard myself as a baby at 33! Coaching is a far tougher job than playing. But I will say that I've been blessed to have been given a lot of skills and information by players and coaches in my time and I don't want to die with that inside me. So I'm happy to help anyone who asks and if there's anyone I can learn from I'm still happy to develop and do that."