Smith's next step towards Boks
Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:38
Remarkable recovery from a potentially career ending injury
Juan Smith has moved closer to a possible recall for the Springboks after his French club Toulon released him along side Bryan Habana and Bakkies Botha for the Rugby Championship.
This comes as SARU announced that a 30-man Springbok squad for the forthcoming Rugby Championship will only be announced on Saturday, August 2.
This is because the Sharks are still involved in Super Rugby and lingering injury concerns over certain players.
In April 2012, Smith announced that he would be taking an indefinite break from rugby due to the ongoing battle with his Achilles injury.
In February 2011, during a Super Rugby match against the Bulls in Bloemfontein, Smith tore his Achilles tendon, which caused him to miss the rest of the 2011 season, as well as the Tri Nations and the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
After four operations on the injury the athletic flank announced his retirement from the game, only for a specialist from the USA to throw Smith a lifeline.
In September 2013, Smith came out of retirement signing a deal with French giants Toulon.
Having made a remarkable return to rugby, Smith was instrumental in Toulon securing the Top 14 Championship as well as the European cup - where he scored a try in the Final.
Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has made no bones about selecting players from overseas and the availability of Smith may see Meyer contemplating giving Smith another chance to shine in the Green and Gold.
Meyer has handed a few Springbok stalwarts another opportunity to contribute to the national team this year with 2007 World Cup winners Schalk Burger, Bakkies Botha and Victor Matfield all making appearances in the mid-year Tests against Wales and Scotland.
Smith has 69 Test caps and was part of South Africa’s World Cup winning team in 2007. He also captained the Springboks against the Barbarians at Twickenham in 2010.
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