Bok skipper ‘raring to go’

2012-11-03 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Springbok captain Jean de Villiers says he is mentally “as fresh as a daisy” for the three-Test tour of the northern hemisphere — although he cannot yet guarantee maximum fitness.

The Boks leave today for the first challenge against Ireland in Dublin on November 10, before also tackling Scotland and England.

Speaking at a media briefing here yesterday, De Villiers told Sport24, when asked about his own state of readiness after his layoff through a hamstring strain: “I’m getting better … not 100%yet, but definitely improving.

“By the time we arrive in Ireland hopefully I can start full training with the team and the rehab will go ahead as planned.”

Had his short absence recently been an inadvertent blessing of sorts after a gruelling season? “Yes, besides the hamstring I’m feeling [rejuvenated]. It really is amazing what a week or 10 days of no training can do for you, and just the mental side of things as well.

“Although I did spend a lot of time with the Province guys leading up to the [Currie Cup] semi-final and final and helped a bit with that, it makes a massive difference … I’m raring to go in [many ways].

“If everything goes according to plan I definitely will be on the field against Ireland, but you never know with these things, when they can re-occur. This is already a re-occurrence of an injury that happened the week before the All Blacks Test — so we wouldn’t want it to become a chronic thing.

“But I’m very positive. Yes, I’d like to say I’m 100%, but I’ve learnt in the past that you don’t make that mistake.”

Referring to team goals for the tour, De Villiers said: “We want to improve as a team; keep on growing. We’ve come a long way this year as a squad and getting to know each other better … having the cohesion, getting on the same page.

“It’s about taking it to the next level on this tour. It’ll be a massive challenge, different conditions and two teams [Ireland and Scotland] we haven’t played yet as a current Bok group.

“I’ve got huge respect for the Irish, having played there before, and knowing a lot of them very well. When someone like Brian O’Driscoll [currently injured], a fantastic rugby player, is out of a team you definitely will miss him and his leadership — but they have capable guys replacing him.”

He admitted there were advantages to playing only three Tests at the end of a long year.

“Yes, I think from a mental point of view it makes things a little bit easier … the knowledge that you can [put everything] into three games on a shortish tour and then know that you’ll be going on holiday afterwards.”

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