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Juan Smith completes remarkable Bok return

Smith will play for the Springboks on Saturday for the first time since 2010.

FILE: Juan Smith. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Juan Smith will complete a remarkable return to international rugby when he runs out for the Springboks against Argentina in Salta on Saturday, in the second Test of the Castle Lager Incoming Series.

Smith's inclusion at flank is one of three changes to the starting XV, with a further four changes on the bench.

Gurthrö Steenkamp (prop) and Eben Etzebeth (lock) will start in the tight five, with Tendai Mtawarira and Bakkies Botha moving to the bench.

Marcell Coetzee will join them amongst the replacements after coming in as a late substitute for the injured Willem Alberts last weekend.

The final change to the team, which beat Argentina by 13-6 last weekend in Pretoria, is the inclusion of Lwazi Mvovo on the bench.

"We have a couple of options at blindside flank, but we've decided that this will be a great opportunity to give Juan a chance," said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

"If it wasn't for an injury which kept him out in June, he would've played a part in the Castle Lager Incoming Series. He was one of Toulon's best players after more than two years out of the game and helped them to win two major competitions.

"Apart from experience and leadership, Juan is a superb ball-carrier and also brilliant at the back of the lineouts, where we missed Willem Alberts last week. Our lineouts are an important attacking platform and we need to improve this week - I'm sure Juan will add another dimension."

Meyer added: "It's also wonderful to have Eben back to full fitness and he'll slot in at lock without any problems.

Saturday's Test will be the Springboks' first visit to Salta, in the north west of Argentina.

"We're looking forward to the challenge. Although we were happy with the result in Pretoria, we were not happy with the performance and this is an opportunity to show improvement against a tough opponent away from home," said Meyer.

The Springbok team to face Argentina in Salta is:

Willie le Roux

Cornal Hendricks

Damian de Allende

Jean de Villiers (captain)

Bryan Habana

Handré Pollard

Ruan Pienaar

Duane Vermeulen

Juan Smith

Francois Louw

Lood de Jager

Eben Etzebeth

Jannie du Plessis

Bismarck du Plessis (vice-captain)

Gurthrö Steenkamp

Replacements:

Adriaan Strauss

Tendai Mtawarira

Frans Malherbe

Bakkies Botha

Marcell Coetzee

Francois Hougaard

Morné Steyn

Lwazi Mvovo