Juan confirms French interest

Juan Smith says a stint in France is a possibility when he makes his comeback next year.

Reports emerged over the last fortnight that there were several French clubs interested in the veteran Springbok flank. It’s believed that Bayonne are the favourites to land his signature.

Cheetahs CEO Harold Verster also confirmed last week that the Bloemfontein franchise would welcome the player back during Super Rugby next season. He has played nine seasons of Super Rugby for the Cats and Cheetahs since making his tournament debut in 2003.

Smith is currently busy with rehabilitation as he recovers from an Achilles injury that has kept him sidelined for the past two seasons. The 31-year-old is set to return to action in 2013.

Smith said he would contemplate all his options before making a final decision.

‘I’m currently a free agent and the Cheetahs haven’t offered me a contract yet,’ Smith told keo.co.za. ‘There have been offers from France. If I get a good deal from one of those clubs, I might move overseas.’

In previous interviews with this site, Smith said he wasn’t interested in a move abroad. However, he admits that his bad run with injuries could see him reconsider his career choices.

‘There was a time that I saw myself finishing my career at the Cheetahs. But all this time I’ve spent off the field has allowed me to rethink things.

‘We’ll see how things go over the next few months. Right now, I’m focused on my rehab. And if a good deal comes my way, whether it’s from local or overseas teams, I’ll take it.’

By Gareth Duncan