South Africa’s four overseas-based World Cup stars – John Smit, Percy Montgomery, Victor Matfield and Butch James – will all be available for both Tests against Wales next month. Smit will captain the World Cup holders against the Six Nations champions.
Rugby 365 reports that the Springboks play the Welsh Dragons in Bloemfontein on June 7 and in Pretoria a week later, before tackling Nick Mallett’s Italian team in Cape Town on June 21.
However, Smit and Montgomery will not be available for the encounter with Italy, when Matfield is expected to take over the captaincy.
It has been confirmed that Smit, Montgomery, Matfield and James will join the Springbok training squad at their Somerset West base next Monday, May 26.
Smit will be available for selection for both Tests against Wales, before returning to France on June 15 to allow him to play for his club Clermont in their French Top 14 semifinal on June 21.
Should they make the Final on June 28, Smit will remain in France for that match too.
The matches will mark the conclusion of Smit’s spell with Clermont.
A South African franchise for him is still being finalised – with the Stormers and Sharks both currently in negotiations with his agent. However, the Sharks have promised Bismarck du Plessis a regular starting spot after Smit left at the end of last year, while the Stormers already have Schalk Brits (now in the Bok training squad) and Tiaan Liebenberg (a Bok on the year-end tour to Wales last year).
Similarly, Montgomery would be released back to Perpignan following the two Tests against Wales, should his club qualify for the French Top 14 semifinals in this weekend’s round of matches.
Matfield is again contracted to the Bulls, and therefore there are no complications with his recall.
James’ commitments to Bath for the season will be concluded when Bath tackle Worcester Warriors in the European Challenge Cup Final on Sunday. He, like Matfield, does not have to return to EuropeTweet