Toulon Complete Their South African Backbone

Toulon Complete Their South African Backbone

Toulon, the top 14 club and current Heineken Cup holders, sign veteran South Africa star Juan Smith.

The 2007 World Cup winner won 69 caps for the Springboks before he retired in early 2011 due to an ongoing battle with a long-standing Achilles injury.

Smith has not represented South Africa since the 2010 Tri-Nations and November Test series.

The former Cheetahs captain tore his Achilles against the Bulls in 2011, in an injury that threatened his career. After four different operations and over two years of no rugby it looked as though the flanker would not return to the playing field.

However, after a further operation and months of rehab, Smith has passed a series of medical exams to seal his one year contract with the French giants.

Smith will join fellow countrymen Danie Rossouw, Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha, Joe van Niekerk and Michael Claassens solidifying a South African backbone within the Toulon ranks.

"The defeat by Grenoble (28-26 on Saturday) expedited our decision," Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal told Nice-Matin newspaper.