De Villiers the glue that kept the team together - Mbalula

2015-09-27 21:21
Jean de Villiers (AP)

Jean de Villiers (AP)

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Johannesburg - Retiring Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has been the glue that has held the Springboks together, Minister of Sport and Recreation Fikile Mbalula said on Sunday.

"He is one among many who put his body on the line for the victory and pride of this great nation," Mbalula said in a statement.

"We salute him first as a patriot; when he was called upon to marshal our national team he did so even at great risk of his own health. Going to the World Cup he fought all his injuries, it is this fighting spirit that we saw on the field when he played."

Earlier on Sunday, it was announced De Villiers had suffered a fractured jaw in the Springboks' 46-6 victory over Samoa towards the end of their Rugby World Cup encounter in Birmingham on Saturday.  

The injury has ruled De Villiers out of the rest of the tournament. 

Mbalula said while De Villiers is leaving the tournament, the lessons he shared with the team would remain with them

"Let's all take a paragraph from the book of Jean de Villiers. The team must not see this as a setback but as an indicator to fight harder to win the World Cup," the sport minister said.

"We trust the team will continue on their winning streak. Nelson Mandela, father of our nation, once said 'The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall'.  We know very well our captain will rise again, like he always does."

An announcement on the captaincy for the match against Scotland in Newcastle will be made on Wednesday according to the SA Rugby website. 

Read more on:    jean de villiers  |  fikile mbalula  |  rugby  |  rwc 2015  |  springboks

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