Springbok and Cheetahs flank Juan Smith has taken an indefinite break from rugby due to an ongoing Achilles injury.
The 30-year-old told the Volksblad newspaper in an exclusive interview that he won’t play rugby this year.
Smith injured his Achilles playing for the Cheetahs in a Super Rugby game against the Bulls on 25 February last year. Since then he’s missed the Springboks’ World Cup campaign last year and hasn’t featured in this year’s Super Rugby competition.
Smith has since had four operations and was understandably very upset with the current state of the injury.
“The right thing to do now is to give my injury sufficient time to heal 100%,” said Smith.
Cheetahs coach, Naka Drotské, is shattered by the news. “Juan is the best No 7 flank in world rugby. He was also our captain over the last few years and to lose him is a huge setback.
“It will be really difficult to replace a world class player like him.”
Smith has now set his sights on returning stronger than ever in the 2013 season.
His injury will also be a big blow to new Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer. Even though the Boks boast really good loose forwards, they are sure to miss Smith’s ball-carrying ability, lineout prowess and leadership.