; Juan Smith called into Springboks squad – The Citizen

Juan Smith called into Springboks squad

FILE PICTURE: Juan Smith during the Toyota Cheetahs training session Picture: Loren Battersby / Gallo Images.

FILE PICTURE: Juan Smith during the Toyota Cheetahs training session Picture: Loren Battersby / Gallo Images.

Experienced international forward Juan Smith has been drafted into the Springboks squad preparing for the Rugby Championship, the SA Rugby Union announced on Wednesday.

He would join the squad in Johannesburg as a replacement following confirmation that Victor Matfield would miss the opening Test of the Rugby Championship next Saturday in Pretoria against Argentina.

“Our need at this stage is to draft in a player who can cover lock and loose forward, and we feel Juan is the right man for the job,” Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said in a statement.

“He has played lock before in his career and won an under-21 World Cup in that position, but he also covers flank and number-eight.”

Smith is a Rugby World Cup winner in 2007 who has 69 Test caps to his name.

“I spoke to him on various occasions and he’s comfortable with playing in the second row again if the need arises,” Meyer said.

“However, as a number of our loose forwards have had a very high work load this season, it’s good to have someone such as Juan who can also provide cover in those positions.

“Furthermore he is a brilliant exponent in the line-outs and will bring experience and leadership to the squad.”

Meyer said he wanted to include Smith during the incoming tour in June but the player was not 100 percent fit.

“Juan has been in sublime form and recently won the very tough French Top 14 league and the Heineken Cup with Toulon,” the Bok mentor said.

“I’ve always held him in very high esteem and I know he will add value to our squad.”

Smith was expected to join the Springboks in Johannesburg on Thursday.

Sapa

 

 

 

 

 

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8 December 2018 THE VAAL

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