Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has recovered from injury and coach Heyneke Meyer has selected him as a starter for Saturday’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship test against Argentina in Durban.
De Villiers was in a race against time when he seriously injured his knee in a match against Wales last November, but following surgery and a lengthy spell spent rehabilitating the problem and working hard to return in time for the upcoming Rugby World Cup, the captain has completed an inspirational comeback.
Coach Meyer is pleased that his skipper is now available for selection, and is keen to see how De Villiers will add to his plans, with the World Cup beginning on September 18.
“Jean’s comeback is truly remarkable and very inspirational and I can’t wait to see what he can offer playing next to exciting youngsters such as Handre Pollard, Damian De Allende and Jesse (Kriel),” Meyer said, according to The Guardian.
“Jean now has 160 minutes of rugby behind him since his comeback a month ago and I’m very satisfied that he will be able to make his mark as player and captain.”
The captain was in scintillating form last year before sustaining his horror injury, and the coach will be hoping that he recaptures that comfort and ability in a Boks jersey in the remaining Rugby Championship games before the team travel to England for the flagship competition next month.
“Jean is desperate to win the World Cup for his country and that determination rubs off on the other players. He has a big impact on the players around him,” Meyer said, according to SuperSport.
“Jean wore the No12 last year when he was playing with Jan Serfontein but he actually fulfilled the role of an outside centre quite a lot.”
Starting XV: Willie le Roux, Jesse Kriel, Jean de Villiers (captain), Damian de Allende, Bryan Habana, Handre Pollard, Ruan Pienaar, Schalk Burger, Marcell Coetzee, Heinrich Brussow, Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth, Vincent Koch, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Marcel van der Merwe, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Cobus Reinach, Pat Lambie, Lwazi Mvovo.
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