Former Irish international John Robbie said on Thursday that South Africa were in the fortunate position to have many loose forwards who could take over from the injured Juan Smith.
This comes after Springbok management confirmed that the Free State Cheetahs star would not be part of their World Cup plans, after he had withdrawn himself because of an Achilles injury.
"If you are going to lose a top player, for South Africa the back row is probably the best place because they just seem to have back row players coming out of the woodwork," said Robbie.
"There are guys playing in the Currie Cup that can play at international level and I don't quite no why South Africa produces so many back row players."
Smith was one of the key players in the Springbok squads that won the 2007 World Cup and secured a series victory over the British and Irish Lions in 2009.
Robbie admitted to being a bit baffled that the back row forward had managed to keep a relatively low profile despite his brilliance.
"Juan is a wonderful player, there's no question about it," Robbie said.
"He's one of the unsung heroes because he's sort of a quiet guy and therefore doesn't always make the headlines."
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