Cape Town - Springbok captain Jean de Villiers is on the mend, and outgoing Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has no doubts that he will be ready to take part in this year's World Cup.
"His recovery is really going brilliantly, better than what I initially thought. I've just had a round of golf with him yesterday (Tuesday) and that was his last little test that he had to pass," Coetzee joked.
"It’s really looking good. Jean is obviously going into the next phase which will be a few friendly matches and I’m sure he will be ready for the World Cup this year - definitely."
In De Villiers' absence this season, Damian de Allende has shone at inside centre for the Stormers and has thrown himself very much into the mix for a place in Bok coach Heyneke Meyer's setup. But, according to Coetzee, there is room for both De Allende and De Villiers in the Springbok side.
"Damian has been outstanding, and Damian with the experience of a guy like Jean de Villiers next to him would be even better," said Coetzee.
"Jean understands 12 and 13. I think he’s one of the better defending centres as a 13, almost as good as Jacques Fourie.
"Sometimes you’ve got to distinguish between a clever defender and a great tackler. Some people are brutal in tackling and the others read and they’re good defenders. Without tackling you I can keep two guys in check, and that is what Jean de Villiers is... he makes good decisions like your 13 should make.
"If you asked me about Damian playing inside centre and Jean at 13, I would not have a problem with that. It is actually a good thing for our World Cup ambitions."
De Villiers is expected to take part in the July 11 clash between the Springboks and the World XV in Cape Town.