Juan Smith ruled out for the year
April 4, 2012
Juan Smith will not play in 2012 © Getty Images
Cheetahs skipper Juan Smith has confirmed that he will be sidelined for the remainder of the year as he continues to battle an Achilles problem.
The 30-year-old flanker suffered the injury during last year's Super Rugby campaign and sat out South Africa's Rugby World Cup campaign as a result.
The news will be a major blow to South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer, who will now be forced to do without one of his most experienced and reliable players during his first season in charge.
"The right thing to do now is to give my injury sufficient time to heal 100%," Smith told the Volksblad newspaper.
Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske labelled Smith's absence from their campaign as a "huge setback". The Free State franchise are currently fourth in Super Rugby's South African conference, two points clear of the Lions.
"Juan is the best No.7 [blindside] flank in world rugby. He was also our captain over the last few years and to lose him is a huge setback," he said. "It will be really difficult to replace a world class player like him."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter