Juan Smith will only feature for the Springboks in August as he takes compassionate leave following his father’s death in March.
Smith has had an emotional ride in the last three months. The Cheetahs skipper withdrew from the team on the eve of their round seven clash against Reds in the Super 14 after his father was rushed to hospital.
He was then flown down to Canberra to rejoin the Cheetahs squad two weeks later ahead of the match against the Brumbies as his father returned to a stable condition. However, Smith’s father passed away the day after he landed in Australia.
The blindside flank flew back to Bloemfontein but made himself available for the struggling Cheetahs two weeks later. His return was significant as he helped the Cheetahs achieve an away draw against the Chiefs and a hat-trick of victories against the Blues, Force and Lions in Bloemfontein and Welkom.
Smith said he will now need time off after rushing back after his father’s death.
‘I had a chat with [Springbok head coach] Peter de Villiers and he has agreed to give me time off until the Boks’ home leg in the Tri-Nations,’ Smith told keo.co.za.
‘After my father’s passing, I rushed back for the Cheetahs in the Super 14 and never really had time to spend time with my family. My mom is really struggling emotionally and I need to be there for her.’
Smith will only return when the Boks host the All Blacks on 21 August in Johannesburg, creating opportunities for other blindside flanks during the Boks’ June internationals and Tri-Nations away leg.
Francios Louw, Jean Deysel and Dewald Potgieter will be expected to be the top contenders for the No 7 jersey.
By Gareth Duncan