Boks minus Smith and De Villiers

2010-05-26 00:00

JAQUE Fourie, South Africa’s leading outside centre, has been drafted into the Springbok team to face Wales in the anniversary Test match in Cardiff on June 5.

Fourie will replace his Springbok midfield partner, Jean de Villiers, who has withdrawn from the Welsh international at the Millenium Stadium.

De Villiers left the field with a shoulder injury in his last outing for Munster and is now heading back to South Africa, where he is expected to rejoin Western Province and the Stormers.

Bok coach Peter de Villiers has replaced him with Fourie instead of opting for a seventh overseas player, such as the Clermont-based Marius Joubert.

The Bok coach had initially planned to rest Fourie, who has played in every Super 14 game this season, ahead of the big Test against France in Cape Town on June 12.

A further blow for the Springboks ahead of their international season is the withdrawal of their leading No. 7 flank, Juan Smith, on the advice of De Villiers.

Smith, the Free State Cheetahs captain, was withdrawn from the team to play Wales following the recent death of his father and he will probably return to the Springboks only in August when they play the home leg of the Tri-Nations.

Peter de Villiers visited Smith at his home this week and advised him to take a break from Test rugby.

“My mom is going through a tough time and is very emotional,” Smith told News24.

“I have been very busy of late, as I played for the Cheetahs in the Super 14 after my father’s death. That is why his passing has not really sunk in. The reality has only hit home now, and I don’t want to play for the Boks if I’m not 100% right.

“We’ll see how things look after the overseas leg of the Tri-Nations,” added Smith. He said De Villiers had agreed that he could continue playing Currie Cup rugby for Free State to stay match fit.

“I appreciate being a player under Peter. His relationship with every player is incredible and that is what makes him such a good coach.

“It’s the first time we have had a coach who cares so much about his players. He went to the trouble of flying up to see me, and he said he is 100% behind me.”

The Free Staters will have Springbok prop CJ van der Linde back in their Currie Cup squad after two years’ club rugby in Ireland.

Van der Linde, one of the half a dozen overseas-based players included in the Bok team to play Wales, is a tighthead, but has been named as a loosehead for Cardiff.

Van der Linde has apparently been offered a contract by SA Rugby until the completion of the World Cup, but has signed only to play Currie Cup rugby for Free State.

His return is timely, as first-choice loosehead Wian du Preez has signed for Munster and leaves next month.

The international career of another Springbok prop, Sharks loosehead Tendai Mtawarira, is in limbo as he waits for the government to clear him to play for South Africa.

Mtawarira was omitted from the Cardiff Test, with SA Rugby president Regan Hoskins and chief executive Andy Marinos confirming that he won’t be selected until they receive government consent.

“We have to get clarity from the government, and we wait for their call,” said Marinos.

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