Smith loss 'blow' to Boks

2011-08-18 10:49

Gavin Rich -  SuperSport

Johannesburg - All Black coach Graham Henry views the injury enforced withdrawal of Juan Smith as a massive blow to the Springbok chances of winning the Rugby World Cup.

The big flanker was finally forced to give up his dream of being part of a second successive winning World Cup effort when he announced on Wednesday evening that he would not be available to play for the Cheetahs in a Currie Cup match this weekend.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers wanted to see Smith play before the World Cup squad announcement next Tuesday, and Smith has reluctantly accepted that coming back from an Achilles operation so quickly was always going to be a huge ask.

The Smith withdrawal was confirmed by the Springbok management in Port Elizabeth on Thursday, and although De Villiers would have been half expecting it, he expressed his disappointment.

“Juan has been in a race against time to be fit and we were keen to give him every opportunity to prove that he could be available,” said De Villiers.

“He is understandably very disappointed, as are we, but he has made the right decision. A fully fit Juan Smith would have been an enormous asset to our World Cup campaign. This is a major disappointment to us.

“But it was obvious that he was still some way from full fitness, and his decision confirms the advice of our medical team. Out of respect for a great Springbok, we wanted to leave the door open until the last moment for him.”

The 69-Test match veteran injured his Achilles playing for the Cheetahs in a Super Rugby match in February.

De Villiers’ All Black adversary, Henry, when told that Smith was out, made no attempt to play down the possible impact on the Bok World Cup chances.

“It will make a big impact on their campaign because he is a world class player and to lose such an important world class player is always a big blow,” said Henry.

“He is a player the All Blacks have massive respect for. He is also a top bloke. Believe it or not the All Blacks and Springboks get on very well with each other, obviously they just aren’t that lovey dovey when on the field. And Juan Smith is one of the players who is responsible for that enormous respect the All Blacks have for the Springboks. He will be a big loss.”

Smith told reporters that he realised he just had to be honest with himself that he was still a long way from where he needed to be in his rehabilitation to stand a realistic chance of performing at his best at the World Cup.

“I've worked very hard to get back on the training field but I am still some way from full fitness and have been training with quite a lot of pain,” said the loose-forward.

“I had been trying to tell myself that I would come right but I realised that just wasn’t going to happen. This is a big blow to me. The Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle of every player’s career. I was looking forward to our attempt to become the first team to defend the World Cup title.”

Smith is the first top first choice player to be officially ruled out of the World Cup, although Andries Bekker was ruled out of the tournament last month.

Schalk Burger won’t play before the World Cup but De Villiers is confident he will be over his hand injury in time for the first game against Wales on 11 September.


  • BCC - 2011-08-18 10:52

    He's probably jumping ship because he doesn't want to be in a losing SA side. At least he gets to retire as a champion now.

      gooinat - 2011-08-18 11:05

      What a cr@p comment!!!!!!!

      ALL-4-SA - 2011-08-18 11:06

      Or maybe the facts are right and that he feels he wont be as strong and fit as all the other players that are in trying to get his spot like willem alberts and jean deysel

      docraven - 2011-08-18 11:11

      Huge Loss!

      Lood Burger - 2011-08-18 11:40

      BCC jou drol, hy is ons volegende kaptein nog nie so oud soos jy dink nie!

      FJ2 - 2011-08-18 12:03

      Juan Smith jumping ship?! Obviously you don't know the man. I think your brainwaves fell a bit short of the beach when you made this comment.

      call a spade - 2011-08-18 12:07

      Jumping ship have a different meaning than the one you used it for. Go look it up you brainded twit.

      Isikhulu - 2011-08-18 12:07

      BCC, bad news for the Boks and the player himself. I believe he got injured in one of his come back games from a similar injury. This happens when the FS coaching staff rush players back into the fold when they are not 100% fit. A similar position with Heinrich Brussouw, he was injured again in a comeback game earlier this year? There is an old English saying "Penny wise - pound foolish". The FS get 40-50 minutes from a recovering player and the Nation / player loses a season or two. Naka take a bow, and for the FS coaching team "Oi, give that man a Bells!"

      Riaan - 2011-08-18 12:44

      He would've given them hell!!!!

      Pikkie - 2011-08-18 13:02

      Lood Burger. Jy het 'n vuilbek en kan nie spel nie. Hou jou swak maniere vir jouself en groei 'n brein.

      JohnnyBB - 2011-08-18 13:33

      BCC, agree... ....he is definately jumping the ship.... .....he doesn't want to be part of the PDV-circus any more...

      Backstabber - 2011-08-18 18:02

      BCC is back, with another great comment! Not like Henry who had something nice to say. My precioussssssss Hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe

  • jk - 2011-08-18 10:56

    i saw it coming a mile away...

      Marx - 2011-08-18 11:11

      I'm sure Divine Brown saw you coming from a mile away, plenty of times, and she doesn't have money back guarantees for guys that's so quick on the trigger!!

      jk - 2011-08-18 14:01

      i still enjoyed it...

      BlouBos - 2011-08-18 14:10

      And not long ago Jake White wanted him to be the Bok Captain????

      BiggestBull - 2011-08-18 15:20

      Ja jk, and I knew you were gay from 2 miles away.

  • Tools1 - 2011-08-18 10:59

    Just reiterates how important this guy was to our WC plans... assuming ofcourse that Pdivvy has a plan.

      Ryan Tunney - 2011-08-18 13:01

      The only plan that Pdivvy has, is to start working on what excuses to give when the Boks come home after the first round. I suspect it'll be the usual "injury" garbage that we're accustomed to hearing.

  • Anneleen - 2011-08-18 11:06

    Bokke, may this event give you even greater inspiration in your quest to retain the William Webb Ellis for Juan...go Bokke!!!!!

  • - 2011-08-18 11:13

    Plenty of great Loosies in South Africa. F.Louw, K.Daniels are obvious replacements but please, No Stegman.

      Gavin Hundermark - 2011-08-18 11:33

      Like for like. Keegan and Flo are both opensides, Juan is a blindside. Hence Alberts/Deysel come into the picture.

      BM123 - 2011-08-18 12:48

      Unfortunately so does Danie Roussouw - a useful lock but not an international No 7. Suggest the loosies should now be Spies, Schalk, Brussouw - but i'll bet Pdivvy will play Danie..

      JohnnyBB - 2011-08-18 13:38

      ...Flou Louw...?? ...overrated... ....just like tortoise Slow-joe Vermeulen... - 2011-08-18 14:07

      Johnny if Spies can make the side , or any Blue Bull for that matter , Louw and Vermeulen should be in the starting line up, I'll fail to see how P.Div is gonna get any were in the world cup with that many bulls in the side. They ended 7th in the Super 15..... and the past couple of matches have been lost by the Bulls players alone Danie Rossouw comes to mind.

      JohnnyBB - 2011-08-18 15:22, ........Stormers/WP = 10 year losers.... cups since 2001.... ....papsak suckers....

  • docraven - 2011-08-18 11:20

    What about BULLDOZER?? He was a Loosie in Queen of the Desert!!

      gooinat - 2011-08-18 11:38

      Was Alwyn the pimp then????

      Bulldozer - 2011-08-18 12:54

      No mummford, your mother was. Serious B-grade stuff.

      docraven - 2011-08-18 12:58


      docraven - 2011-08-18 13:00

      Dozer walks with a permanent limp!!!LOL

  • geewiz - 2011-08-18 11:30

    The moment he injured his achilles, we knew there was NO WAY he was gonna be fit and available for the rest of the year, nevermind the World Cup. Juan must really focus on proper rehab & relaxation, because next year is gonna be hard, with all the changes (the Super15 changes suck big time!) to the season. Personally, I want to see the Boks wallop the aussies & all blacks in the Trinations next year, screw the world cup.

      geewiz - 2011-08-18 11:35

      I don't think they planned their strategies around Juan - I hope not, otherwise that will be plain silly.

  • Leighton - 2011-08-18 11:36

    To put this into perspective, the loss of Juan is equivalent to Richie not playing for the All Blacks... Heavy I tell you

      Ryan Tunney - 2011-08-18 12:52

      I think you're smoking your socks!!

  • Bokstar - 2011-08-18 11:48

    No, the loss of Smith is nog a blow to the Boks - it is a blessing in the sky! In the first placed you shouldnt be included in the group for the world cup. A week a go i predicted that he will be injured again even before the world cup starts.

      Cameron Roberts - 2011-08-18 12:48

      Sweetie, it's "blessing in disguise" - not "blessing in the sky"...

      Ryan Tunney - 2011-08-18 12:55

      Hey boet, you can write in Afrikaans. We'll understand you more...

  • Avi27 - 2011-08-18 11:53

    Smith loss would have been a blow had he been fully fit as he is a world class loose forward. I don't think it a Huge blow as people make it to be, had he went to the WC he would not b match fit and hence he did the right thing for the BOKS and our fans. We will miss you Juan. The boks at the momment are match unfit and very rusty. But the wind will change direction, with time the Boks will get better and hope we start getting a few wins under our belt before we meet the Big guys (Aus and NZ in the knock out). The Boks have World Class players in most positions and combined with experience is the combination that will win the WC- Best Scum half (FdP just needs some game time and he be back to his best), Most experienced and Best lock pairing (Victor and Bakkies). Best hooker if allowed to start (Bismark), Strong ball carriers (Beast, Bismark, Alberts, Bakkies, Schalk) looking forward to see Bismark and Alberts run and shove and bash the opposition:) Strategy to win WC: -Strong defence (habana needs to stop looking for the intercept and defend his channel) -Be patient and try keep the ball more esp in opposition half -Kick for teritory and bring our line out jumpers in the game -Put numbers in the break down and steal oposition ball (shouldn b a problem with Brussow and Bismark & Alberts around) -Flyhalf need2bring our forwards and backs in2 play at the right time -Impact players need to come on at the right time -We need to start well,score tries and convert penalties

      standoff - 2011-08-18 12:00

      You forgot the most important one: Score more points than the opposition! Now THATS strategy.

      Avi27 - 2011-08-18 12:08

      @standoff point noted about scoring more points than the opposition hence I said Strong defence. We we defend well we be in the hunt assuming we can also score a few tries and convert our penalties

      Kevin - 2011-08-18 13:20

      What also is a major ingredient in any cup tournament is individual brilliance. 2007 it was Habana who was just short of breaking a try scoring record. Os Du Rant, Juan, JP, Bismark were also stand out players among a few others. This year our players with massive potential must deliver individual match winning performances. Guys like Bismark, Spies, Lambie can single handedly turn a game on its head and be major factors. The same way in which Carter and McCaw have massive X factor for the All Blacks.

  • MB1810 - 2011-08-18 11:57

    I have a lot of respect for Smith, he is a great guy and a great player, but I don't think selecting Alberts in his steed would mean weakening the team, we will miss his experience and temperament though.

  • Ryan Tunney - 2011-08-18 12:06

    PDiv as coach is also a huge blow to the chances of the Springboks winning the World Cup. In fact it's a huge blow to the chances of the Springboks winning anything at all.

  • Riaan - 2011-08-18 12:43

    He would've given them hell!!!

  • Al Fraser - 2011-08-18 12:56

    It makes me smile whenever I hear the good camaradie that is shared between the Springboks and All Blacks. 90 years of a special rivalry!! It's shame that people like BCC have nothing positive to say!! Go take your bad attitude to another planet!

  • Aabels - 2011-08-18 12:56

    I personally think this plonker was past his sell by date.

      JohnnyBB - 2011-08-18 13:25

      ...John Smit..?? ......I agree...

      Drewka - 2011-08-18 13:39

      Who cares what you think Aabels & BB-Twak. Please go to your Ozzie website and leave your mindless comments there!

  • Justin - 2011-08-18 13:31

    De Villiers should play Schalk Burger, and Heinrich Brussouw together. I know they are supposed to be both same side flankers, but I actually think Schalk is much more of a similar type of player as Juan Smith, but is much better on all round defense.. He will make all the tackles, and Brussow will make all the steals! Also, as far as I have it, Burger can also be utilized in the line outs..

      Zip23 - 2011-08-18 13:55

      True, only problem that as we all know that Schalkie isnt the sharpest pencil in the potloodsakkie, we dont have the time to teach him the line out calls.

  • Drewka - 2011-08-18 13:33

    Juan will be missed!!! Not only on the field, but also his positive contribution within the Springbok camp. Sad news indeed!!!

  • Mark - 2011-08-18 14:09

    Can JS not withdraw as well?

  • Sly Bacon - 2011-08-18 15:14

    Call me the new kid on the block....really enjoyed reading all your views so now want in as well !!. Been a strong bok supporter for 56 years and will never change. Remember sitting at Boet Erasmus in PE in early sixties watching Hennie van Zyl score down the left touchline and Don Clarke slotting a penalty from 65 yards. Springbok history has been and will continue to be a rollercoaster ride.......some years we will be down and other times peaking and unstoppable. Right now I believe John Smit must go to the world cup but only as hooker and only for the last 20 minutes of each game.........Bissie must start........this way we have the best of both worlds ?

  • BiggestBull - 2011-08-18 15:19

    Luckily Pierre Spies is no longer injured. Btw, where are all the people who called Pierre useless before last weekend now? Regards Frikkie

      gooinat - 2011-08-18 15:51

      Hey Frikkie,one game does not make Spies good,fair enough he had a good game against the Shelia's but I would still play Vermeulen before him,unfortunately thats not going to happen and we have to be content with supporting Spies. I am a Bok supporter and therefore they come first.

      Rugganut - 2011-08-18 16:57

      Brilliant performance (although he did miss a few tackles according to stats on!!! If he has another blinder this weekend, then I might start to support you in your support of Spies. Let us hope he gets even better and maintains his form throughout the world cup. He HAS TO, cause the rest of the loosies are better on the flanks rather than 8th man. Someone else commented that he would like to see Spies on the field for the last 20 or 30 minutes as an impact player and I think that is a good idea. Imagine bringing him on with 20 to go when the opposition is tiring and not as sharp and focused on defense as they were in the first 60min. He would definitely cause all sorts of panic in the opposition with his 100m-in-10seconds speed. Same goes for Beast for that fact...he is hugely mobile.

  • Lance - 2011-08-18 16:11

    "Mr Henry", Juan is a loss..but a man maketh not a team. Loosies are very far from being in short supply here in SA.

  • Joe - 2011-08-18 19:36

    We will survive

  • sam - 2011-08-19 21:05

    Henry should rather focus on his own team, seeing as they have such an appalling record at the WC, instead of wasting time on worrying about other teams. If NZ does not win this year, they will never win. So all the pressure is on the All Blacks. And, by the way, if you havent noticed yet it takes 15 players to win or loose a World Cup, not just one.

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