Smit forced out by Thorn tackle

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The Independent Online

South Africa captain John Smit has been forced to withdraw from the Springboks team to play New Zealand in next weekend’s Tri-Nations encounter in Dunedin because of a groin injury.



Smit was hurt during the tournament opener in Wellington on Saturday, won 19-8 by New Zealand, when All Blacks lock Brad Thorn upended the hooker with an illegal tackle.

View the tackle here

Thorn was subsequently suspended for one match after being cited for the sixth-minute incident that forced Smit to leave the bruising contest before halftime.

Springboks media manager Rayaan Adriaanse told the New Zealand Press Association that Smit would be returning to South Africa for further treatment.

Lock Victor Matfield, who led South Africa against Italy last month, will take over as captain for Saturday’s match while Stormers hooker Schalk Brits has been called up as cover for Smit.

South Africa name their team on Thursday and Brits is expected to be listed among the replacements with Bismarck du Plessis starting in Smit’s absence.

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