Juan still in mourning

2010-05-25 07:46

Jóhann Thormählen

Bloemfontein – Springbok flanker Juan Smith will probably only play for South Africa in August.

Smith has withdrawn from the Bok side due to the recent death of his father, Giel, and hopes to be available for the home leg of this year’s Tri-Nations.

The Cheetahs captain, who is also struggling with a groin injury, will play for Free State in the Currie Cup in the meantime.

Smith was not included in the Bok side for the Test against Wales. Springbok coach Peter de Villiers said that he had not been considered due to personal reasons.

The flanker told Sport24 that the coach had visited him at his home on Monday and suggested that he take some time to work everything out.

Smith will be with his family and work through his father’s death, saying that it was one of the toughest decisions of his career.

“My mom is going through a tough time and is very emotional. I have been very busy of late as I played for the Cheetahs in the Super 14 after my father’s death. That is why his passing has not really sunk in. The reality only hit home now and I don’t want to play for the Boks if I’m not 100% right,” he said.

Smith was also due to undergo a scan of his groin injury on Monday and may be sidelined for a while if he needs to undergo surgery.

While he cannot say exactly when he’ll be available, Smith hopes to join his Bok team-mates when they return from Australia and New Zealand.

“We’ll see how things look after the overseas leg of the Tri-Nations.”

The Boks’ first home game in the Tri-Nations is against New Zealand in Johannesburg on 21 August.

Smith said De Villiers had agreed that he could play for the Free State to stay fit. Free State start their Currie Cup onslaught against Western Province in Bloemfontein on 10 July.

The Cheetahs captain said he was grateful for the Bok coach’s support.

“I appreciate being a player under Peter. His relationship with every player is incredible and that is what makes him such a good coach. It’s the first time I’m in a Bok team where a coach cares so much about the players. He went to the trouble of flying up to see me and said he’s 100% behind me.”


  • Disa - 2010-05-25 08:23

    Great to see a player with his priorities in the correct order. And well done to the Bok coach for standing by him.

  • Weepee - 2010-05-25 08:37

    May be a mistake come WC time. Give a guy like Francois Louw a gap and Juan might struggle to get back in. There are so many other loosies around. Look what happened to Schalla when Brussouw saw a gap!

  • Emile - 2010-05-25 08:40

    What a role model for all and a true man with priorities in order. Wish him all the best. So wished he played for another province (except the Lions). Him staying commited to a poor side like the Cheetahs just again shows his integrity.

  • Dronkie - 2010-05-25 08:45

    Juan you and you family will stay in our prayers...May your DAD rest in peace..

  • Sharkie - 2010-05-25 08:59

    Everything of the best Juan. May God give you and your family the strength and guidance to get through this very difficult time. I have got new found respect for PDV. Great to see he cares so much about the well being of his players.

  • ou boet craak - 2010-05-25 09:15

    @ WEEPEE - my girl, life is about more than rugby and money! I say well done to Juan for taking time out for himself to deal with his loss. Snorbal Peter De Villiers showed real character in supporting him.

  • Paddy - 2010-05-25 09:20

    Juan, you and your family, are in my thoughts and prayers. Not only do you have the coach's support you have the fans as well.

  • jaco - 2010-05-25 09:36

    i am so glad to see that some things in life are still more important than rugby and money - to loose you father is a great loss - time heals - life is about so much more - take your time

  • jay - 2010-05-25 10:13

    Good luck Juan, glad that you are doing what feels right at this time. I hope that you also have people supporting you at home in this difficult time - don't forget to keep your own strengths. We'll miss you in the Tri-Nations! PdV sounds amazing from every aspect.

  • Robert - 2010-05-25 11:23

    Juan you are a legend! I hope you find strength during this difficult time... As for PdV, I tip my hat off to you.... Now can we PLEASE retain our title next year :-)) If you do PdV, then you will also be a legend.....

  • Stephen - 2010-05-25 12:31

    Weepee: Schalla has played the best rugby ever in my opinion and has added the linking game to his arsenal. I'm sure the emergence of Brussouw had something to do with this although I think Luke Watson affected Schalk more than Brussouw's presence did. As for Juan, he is the best blindside flank in the world bar none! For me, Louw is the perfect bench player at this stage as he covers all of the backrow positions. After the WC, our new loose trio will be Spies, Louw, and captain Schalk. For the WC our coach will not deviate from his seasoned campaigners

  • Scaramouche - 2010-05-25 18:02

    Good luck Juan! I think Peter de V's attitude and support is brilliant. He has his shortcomings, but this level of supoprt makes players loyal to coaches and that pays dividents on the field. Juan is still number on #7 in the world and will have his name allready pencilled in for the WC 2011. This rest and time to reflect on his father's passing will just do him good in the long run.

  • Dronkie - 2010-05-26 08:40

    @Weepee...Juan is the best # 7 in the World. Juan, Schalla en John Smit will be first on the Bok team sheet for the World Cup..

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