Smith drafted into Bok squad

Johannesburg - Experienced international forward Juan Smith has been drafted into the Springbok squad preparing for the Rugby Championship.

Smith was a Rugby World Cup winner in 2007 and boasts 69 Test caps. He will join the squad in Johannesburg as replacement following confirmation that Victor Matfield will miss the opening Test of the Rugby Championship against Argentina in Pretoria next Saturday.

“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,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“He has played lock before in his career and won an Under-21 World Cup in that position, but he also covers flank and No 8.

“I spoke to him on various occasions and he’s comfortable with playing in the second row again if the need arises. 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 lineouts and will bring experience and leadership to the squad. We wanted to involve him in June as I really want to work with him, but he was not 100% fit and asked not to be considered.

“Juan has been in sublime form and recently won the very tough French Top 14 league and the Heineken Cup with Toulon. I’ve always held him in very high esteem and I know he will add value to our squad.”

Smith will join the Springboks in Johannesburg on Thursday.

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