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Springbok legend Juan Smith announces retirement

RUGBY

Springbok legend Juan Smith announces retirement

Springbok legend Juan Smith announces retirement

David Rogers

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The flanker was capped 70 times for South Africa between 2003 and 2014.

Former Springbok flanker Juan Smith on Wednesday announced his retirement from all forms of rugby.

The 36-year-old veteran joined Japanese side Toyota Verblitz in June after spending four years with French giants RC Toulon.

Family health problems

Via a press statement, Toyota Verblitz announced that Smith will retire because of family health problems and that he will play his last game this Saturday against Toyota Shokki Shuttles.

 "We would like to announce that Juan Smith is unable to continue playing rugby in the Top League, due to family reasons," said the club.

"After discussing the situation with Juan and the team's managerial members, it is very regrettable to announce that the match against TL 9 Toyota Shokki Shuttles will be Juan's last match in his rugby playing career.

"We apologize to our supporters for this announcement. However, we thank you for your understanding."

The flanker also commented: "I am disappointed to announce that I am going to retire from my rugby career after the match against Toyota Shokki Shuttles.

"I was going to carry on my rugby playing career with my coach Jake White, however, I would like to say thank you to all my team-mates, coaching staff at Toyota Verblitz. Also to all my supporters and family members, too.

"I was looking forward to winning the championship with my team-mates, however, this was a decision which had to be decided on.

"I am wishing that the Toyota Verblitz team plays well in the competitions, and I hope that I’m able to support the team from my end as much as I can as a Toyota family member.

"Thank you very much for having me even though it was only for a short period of time.

"Good luck."

Brilliant career

Between 2003 and 2014, Juan Smith played 70 times for South Africa, and was part of the Springboks' World Cup-winning side ten years ago in France.

Smith played for the Free State Cheetahs for nine years, from 2002 to 2011, winning the Currie Cup in 2005.

In April 2012, he announced that he would be taking an indefinite break from rugby due to an ongoing Achilles injury.

However, in 2013 the flanker returned to professional rugby and signed a deal with Toulon, a team with which he claimed the European Rugby Champions Cup in 2015.

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