Smith set for Bok return

Juan Smith has been drafted into the Springbok squad as cover for the injured Victor Matfield.

The World Cup-winning flanker, who won the last of his 69 Test caps against England in 2010, will join up with the squad in Johannesburg later this week. Bok coach Heyneke Meyer says his versatility will prove invaluable as they try to cope with the loss of Matfield, who was ruled out of the opening match against Argentina with a knee cartilage injury.

'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 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 workload 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 already 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 European Cup with Toulon. I’ve always held him in very high esteem and I know he will add value to our squad.'

Feature: How Smith got back to his best with Toulon

Feature: How fifth Achilles tendon operation allowed Smith to resurrect his career

Mark Keohane: SA’s foreign legion strengthens Springboks

Photo: Duif du Toit/Gallo Images