Juan Smith back in Springbok Test team for Sat test

Juan Smith will complete a remarkable return to international rugby when he runs out for the Springboks against Argentina in Salta on Saturday, in the second Test of the Castle Lager Incoming Series (kick-off 21h40 SA time).

Smith’s inclusion at flank is one of three changes to the starting XV, with a further four changes on the bench.

Gurthrö Steenkamp (prop) and Eben Etzebeth (lock) will start in the tight five, with Tendai Mtawarira and Bakkies Botha moving to the bench. Marcell Coetzee will join them amongst the replacements after coming in as a late substitute for the injured Willem Alberts last weekend.

The final change to the team, which beat Argentina by 13-6 last weekend in Pretoria, is the inclusion of Lwazi Mvovo on the bench.

“We have a couple of options at blindside flank, but we’ve decided that this will be a great opportunity to give Juan a chance,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“If it wasn’t for an injury which kept him out in June, he would’ve played a part in the Castle Lager Incoming Series. He was one of Toulon’s best players after more than two years out of the game and helped them to win two major competitions.

“Apart from experience and leadership, Juan is a superb ball-carrier and also brilliant at the back of the lineouts, where we missed Willem Alberts last week. Our lineouts are an important attacking platform and we need to improve this week – I’m sure Juan will add another dimension.”

Meyer added: “It’s also wonderful to have Eben back to full fitness and he’ll slot in at lock without any problems.

“’Beast’ recently returned from an injury which kept him out for some time and it was decided to rotate him and Gurthrö mainly because of the short turn-around after our travel to Argentina.”

Saturday’s Test will be the Springboks’ first visit to Salta, in the north west of Argentina.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge. 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,” said Meyer.


The Springbok team to face Argentina in Salta is:

Position Name Test Caps Test points
15 Willie le Roux 16 35
14 Cornal Hendricks 4 10
13 Damian de Allende 1 0
12 Jean de Villiers (captain) 97 125
11 Bryan Habana 98 275
10 Handré Pollard 2 18
9 Ruan Pienaar 77 135
8 Duane Vermeulen 20 10
7 Juan Smith 69 60
6 Francois Louw 31 25
5 Lood de Jager 4 10
4 Eben Etzebeth 24 0
3 Jannie du Plessis 55 5
2 Bismarck du Plessis (vice-captain) 61 45
1 Gurthrö Steenkamp 51 30
Replacements:
16 Adriaan Strauss 35 25
17 Tendai Mtawarira 56 10
18 Frans Malherbe 3 0
19 Bakkies Botha 80 35
20 Marcell Coetzee 17 10
21 Francois Hougaard 28 20
22 Morné Steyn 57 663
23 Lwazi Mvovo 9 15

· Juan Smith last played a Test for South Africa on 27 November, 2010 against England at Twickenham. If he scores a try, Smith will become sole record holder of most tries for South Africa as a flank (11), a record he currently shares with Schalk Burger.

· Ruan Pienaar will be playing in his 50th Test for South Africa at scrumhalf. He also played 15 Tests at flyhalf, ten at fullback and three on the wing.

· The referee is Steve Walsh of Australia (formerly from New Zealand). This will be his 17th Test involving South Africa. From the previous 16 games the Springboks have won 12, drawn three and lost once. Walsh will also equal the record of Alain Rolland of Ireland who also officiated in 17 Tests involving South Africa.

· This will be the Springboks’ first Test at the Estadio Padre Ernest Martearena in Salta.

Issued by SARU Corporate Affairs

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About Martin Myers
Music Supervisor / Artist and Talent Manager / Publicist / Music Exchange Founder / Owner Triple M Entertainment

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