Boks continue Dad's Army selection approach
Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer continues his Dad's Army approach by recalling veteran flanker Juan Smith for a training camp ahead of next month's Rugby Championship.
French club Toulon confirmed three of their South African signings - Smith, lock Bakkies Botha and wing Bryan Habana - would be involved in the Boks camp.
Smith, 32, hasn't played for the Boks since 2010 as Achilles injuries requiring four surgeries ravaged his career, eventually forcing him to "retire" early last year.
But he made a remarkable comeback in France last September, signing with Toulon and helping them to win the Heineken Cup. A happy Toulon management recently extended Smith's contract through to 2016.
Meyer admitted earlier this year he was tracking Smith's form and fitness with interest, believing the former Cheetah's player hadn't lost any of his class and that his body was young in mileage terms because of the amount of time he had spent on the sidelines.
Now it seemed Smith might be a contender to feature for the Boks again and even press for another World Cup after winning the 2007 title under Jake White.
Meyer has had no hesitation in looking to experienced players to bolster his squad and also to offshore stars given the leniency of the South African selection policy.
Botha, 34, has confirmed the current European season will be his last, but also expressed his desire to be involved in next year's World Cup in England.
Like Botha, Matfield was a long-time ally of Meyer from his coaching days at the Bulls.
Matfield completed a remarkable milestone earlier this year when he became the most capped (113) and oldest (37 years and 48 days) Springboks player when he captained the Boks in the second test of their series win against Wales.
The 31-year-old Schalk Burger was another veteran back in favour after missing the last two years with injury and illness.