Smit's return a relief for De Villiers

Springbok captain John Smit joined the Springbok training session in Stellenbosch on Monday morning just hours after stepping off the plane from France, where he had been playing for Top 14 club Clermont.

The arrival of Smit was greeted with great relief by Springbok coach Peter de Villiers. “We could not do our planning fully without him,” De Villiers explained.

There has been much speculation about where Smit will be continuing his rugby after the Springbok management arranged for him to return to the country in the interests of South African rugby. His old province, the Sharks, have not sounded too enthusiastic, and Western Province have said he has been priced out of the market.

The other three foreign-based members of the training squad, Percy Montgomery, Victor Matfield and Butch James, have all been granted permission by De Villiers to arrive at the Somerset West camp as late as Wednesday.

New Springbok backline coach Dick Muir is also likely to arrive on Wednesday after his child had an accident at home.

In the absence of Muir, De Villiers has been working with the backs.—Sapa

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