Rugby Championship
Springboks start Juan Smith against Pumas
August 21, 2014

Juan Smith will return to Test rugby 18 months after retiring because of chronic injury, the 2007 Rugby World Cup winner named in South Africa's team for the Rugby Championship fixture against Argentina in Salta on Saturday.

Smith is one of three changes to the side that started the opening-round win against the Pumas in Pretoria, with coach Heyneke Meyer also selecting Gurthro Steenkamp at loose-head prop and Eben Etzebeth in the second-row.

Smith, 33, last played Test rugby at the end of 2010. He retired from all rugby in 2013 after struggling for two years with an Achilles' tendon injury, but he made an unexpected return and won the Heineken Cup and French Top 14 titles last season with Toulon.

The world No 2-ranked Springboks struggled to beat Argentina 13-6 at Loftus Versfeld, and the Pumas have pushed them close in South America for the past two seasons. The teams drew 16-16 in Mendoza in 2012, and South Africa won 22-17 last season.

"We're looking forward to the challenge," Meyer said. "Although we were happy with the result in Pretoria, we were not happy with the performance and this is an opportunity to show improvement against a tough opponent away from home."

Springboks: Willie le Roux; Cornal Hendricks, Damian de Allende, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana; Handre Pollard, Ruan Pienaar; Duane Vermeulen, Juan Smith, Francios Louw; Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth; Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Gurthro Steenkamp. Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Tendai Mtawarira, Frans Malherbe, Bakkies Botha, Marcell Coetzee, Francois Hougaard, Morne Steyn, Lwazi Mvovo.


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