Updated: Wednesday, 06 August 2014 19:27 | By Agence France-Presse

Springboks call up Juan Smith

South Africa have called up experienced forward Juan Smith for the Rugby Championship.


Springboks call up Juan Smith

Juan Smith (C) of South Africa's Springboks takes the ball as he is tackled by Argentina's Pumas Juan Hernandez (L) 05 November, 2005, during their test match at Velez Sarsfield Stadium in Buenos Aires - by Sebastian D'souza

Smith, a World Cup winner in 2007 who has 69 Test caps to his name, currently plays in France with double European champions Toulon.

He was given the call following confirmation that Victor Matfield will miss the opening Test of the Rugby Championship next Saturday in Pretoria against Argentina.

"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 Springbok coach Heyneke 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 work load this season, it’s good to have someone such as Juan who can also provide cover in those positions."

Meyer added: "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 as I really want to work with him, but he was not 100 percent 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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