The best in his game

2014-09-12 00:00

SPRINGBOK coach Heyneke Meyer holds his Captain Jean de Villiers in the highest esteem and believes he is one of the greats of the game.

His words came as De Villiers gears up for his 100th Test against the All Blacks in their Rugby Championship clash tomorrow. He becomes the fifth South African to reach the milestone.

“I have worked with a lot of captains but he is right there at the top. Firstly, I think he is an unbelievable human being. He’s always got time not just for the senior players, but also for the youngsters,” said Meyer.

“I think the great thing for me, as a captain, is that he is well respected throughout the world. When we started together I didn’t know him that well but we said we are really going to be ambassadors for rugby and for South Africa. We don’t want to make any excuses and we are going to go out there, enjoy what we do and make friends,” the Bok coach said.

“He has really epitomised that. He is an unbelievable leader, not just on the field but off it as well. Where you see if a guy is a true leader is wherever we go, the likes of Richie McCaw and all the other captains and players throughout the world, respect him. That’s why he was the Barbarians captain when a lot of those guys played with him,” Meyer said.

De Villiers’s easy going nature has rubbed off on many — another factor that resonates with the Bok coach.

“I think the great thing about the guy is that he is so humble and he makes time for people,” he said. That being said, De Villiers has not survived 99 Tests without being a lion on the rugby field.

“Whenever he gets on the field he is a fierce warrior and he gives his heart to his country and his team,” he said.

“Once he’s off the field, he’s a great bloke and people like to be around him. The great thing is that he feels for people and likes to make a difference in their lives. He’s just an all-round leader,” the Coach said.

The Boks meet the All Blacks in Wellington tomorrow morning. Kick-off is at 9.40 am.


New Zealand: 15-Israel Dagg, 14-Ben Smith, 13-Conrad Smith, 12-Ma’a Nonu, 11-Julian Savea, 10-Aaron Cruden, 9-Aaron Smith, 8-Kieran Read, 7-Richie McCaw (captain), 6-Steven Luatua, 5-Jeremy Thrush, 4-Brodie Retallick, 3-Owen Franks, 2-Dane Coles, 1-Wyatt Crockett

Replacements: 16-Keven Mealamu, 17-Joe Moody, 18-Ben Franks, 19-Patrick Tuipulotu, 20-Sam Cane, 21-TJ Perenara, 22-Beauden Barrett, 23-Cory Jane

South Africa: 15-Willie le Roux; 14-Cornal Hendricks, 13-Jan Serfontein, 12-Jean de Villiers (captain), 11-Bryan Habana, 10-Handre Pollard, 9-Ruan Pienaar, 8-Duane Vermeulen, 7-Marcell Coetzee, 6-Francois Louw, 5-Victor Matfield, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 3-Jannie du Plessis, 2-Adriaan Strauss, 1-Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16-Bismarck du Plessis, 17-Trevor Nyakane, 18-Marcel van der Merwe, 19-Lood de Jager, 20-Warren Whiteley, 21-Francois Hougaard, 22-Pat Lambie, 23-Damian de Allende.

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