Juan Smith drafted into Springbok squad

Smith has been brought in as cover for lock Victor Matfield who has been ruled out of the Pumas clash.

FILE:Springbok Juan Smith (R) powers his way past British and Irish Lions's Stephen Jones during the Final Rugby Test in Johannesburg at Ellis Park Stadium on July 4, 2009. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Experienced international forward Juan Smith has completed a remarkable comeback after being drafted into the South Africa squad for the Rugby Championship opener against Argentina next week.

Smith, a recent winner of the French Top 14 and Heineken Cup with Toulon, has been brought in as cover for lock Victor Matfield, who has been ruled out of the Pumas clash on 16 August with a knee complaint and could be missing for longer.

"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 like Juan who can also provide cover in those positions.

"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."

Smith retired from rugby in early 2013 after a battle with an Achilles injury, but was persuaded out of retirement by Toulon in September last year and became a key member of their trophy-winning side.