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Smith out of World Cup

South Africa loose forward Juan Smith has ruled himself out of the World Cup because of an Achilles problem.

Smith, who suffered the injury playing for the Cheetahs in February, informed Springboks coach Peter de Villiers on Wednesday that he was not fit enough for consideration.

"Juan had been in a race against time to be fit and we were keen to give him every opportunity to prove himself available," said De Villiers. "He is understandably very disappointed - as are we - but he has made the right decision."

He added: "A fully-fit Juan Smith would have been an enormous asset to our campaign, and this is a major disappointment.

"But it was obvious that he was still some way from full fitness and his decision confirms the advice of our medical team. Out of respect for a great Springbok, we wanted to leave the door open until the last moment for him."

Smith, who has featured in 69 Tests for his country, said: "I've worked very hard to get back on the training field but I'm still some way from full fitness and have been training with quite a lot of pain. I'd been trying to tell myself that I'd come right but that wasn't going to happen.

"This is a huge blow to me. The Rugby World Cup is the pinnacle of any player's career and I was looking forward to our attempt to become the first team to win the title in successive tournaments."

The South Africa squad will be named on Tuesday evening.


From Belfast Telegraph