Rugby Championship
Juan Smith called up by Springboks
ESPN Staff
August 6, 2014
Juan Smith was in sensational form for Toulon last season © Getty Images

The Springboks have added Toulon's Juan Smith to their Rugby Championship squad as injury cover for Victor Matfield.

Matfield will miss South Africa's opener against Argentina on August 16 and Smith, who played in the back-row for Toulon last season, will cover the second-row. Smith, who was part of the 2007 Rugby World Cup-winning side, last played for the Boks in 2010 and has since overcome numerous injury battles but he was one of the standout players in the Top 14 last season and played a key role in Toulon's Heineken Cup and Top 14 triumphs.

"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," Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said. "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 line-outs 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."

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