South African Rugby
Smit to sit out Springbok tour
September 22, 2010
South Africa's John Smit is shackled by the Australia defence, Australia v South Africa, Tri-Nations, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia, July 24, 2010
John Smit will not tour with the Springboks in November © Getty Images

Springbok skipper John Smit will miss their November Grand Slam tour attempt after opting for surgery on a chronic cervical disc injury.

The Sharks hooker underwent the procedure in Durban on Wednesday and now faces three months on the sidelines.

The tour is of great importance to the Springboks after their disastrous last-place finish in the Tri-Nations but Smit elected to go under the knife in order to ensure his fitness and availability for next season's Super Rugby campaign and Rugby World Cup.

South Africa begin their tour against Ireland on November 6 in Dublin before travelling to take on Wales, Scotland and England on successive weekends.

"The timing was right for John to undergo surgery as he will now have a prolonged period of recovery in advance of the new season," Springbok team doctor Craig Roberts said. "It will also ensure John's availability for the Springboks and the Sharks for the 2011 season. This was not a career threatening injury."

During the Tri-Nations Bulls hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle deputised for Smit, while Sharks No.2 Bismarck du Plessis has recently returned from injury. There could also be a call for Saracens' Schalk Brits, who has been impressing in England for some time.


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