In an exclusive interview with Volksblad’s Hendrik Cronjé, Juan Smith has announced his immediate withdrawal from all rugby for 2012, to fully recover from the injury that has sidelined him since the beginning of 2011. Juan has indicated that he hoped to return to the field of play vs the Lions on Saturday, but after 4 operations, he has still not recovered sufficiently!
This is a hammer blow to Naka Drotske, as Juan is widely regarded, as the best ball, carrying flanker in the world. And he has been talismanic for both the Cheetahs and the Boks.
The ultimate team man, Juan hopes to return next year, fitter and stronger. Respect, and good luck big guy!!
Even though Naka has able replacements in his looseforward stocks, a Juan Smith fully fit, is irreplaceable. Guys like young Phillip van der Walt, who is a player in the same mould, has stepped into the breach, only 22, he now has the opportunity to establish himself. The end of the 7′s series will also see the likely return of Boom Prinsloo, and Lappies Labuschagne, is also due back from a shoulder injury.