Do Not Sell My Personal Information
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump RugbyDump
Wednesday Jul 8, 2015

Jean de Villiers makes long-awaited comeback vs World XV

Jean de Villiers makes long-awaited comeback vs World XV

Jean de Villiers will make an inspirational come-back to top-level rugby from the bench for the Springboks, almost eight months after suffering a horrific knee injury, when they take on the World XV at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.

Victor Matfield will captain the Boks, with Warren Whiteley making his first start in the Green and Gold, while two uncapped players, Jesse Kriel and Vincent Koch, have been included in the match-23.

If De Villiers makes an appearance it will be his first rugby since suffering a dislocated knee and ligament damage in the final match of 2014, against Wales in Cardiff.

De Villiers has gone through more than seven months of rigorous rehabilitation and is now completing a remarkable recovery.

“Jean is a massive asset to South African rugby and it’s wonderful to know his return to play is progressing so well that we can give him some game time from the bench on Saturday,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“The mere fact that he is back in shape and ready to play is testament to his incredible work-ethic and his professional approach to the game. Jean has really put in hours and hours of extra work to get here and he is a great example for any player on how to put yourself in the best possible position to recover.

“We will still manage how he is used against the World XV and afterwards we’d like him to return to Western Province, where he will be available for their Absa Currie Cup warm-ups.”

Springboks Team to face the World XV

15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Oupa Mohoje, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jean de Villiers

Meyer said the decision to hand the captaincy to Matfield for the time being was not a difficult one. Ruan Pienaar has been given the vice-captaincy.

“The captaincy is a very important thing to me and it’s something that I believe should not be treated lightly, especially at international level,” said Meyer. “Victor is the most-experienced player in the history of Springbok rugby and has captained successfully at every level of the game.

“He led last year too when Jean was injured and was the vice-captain for the rest of the season. Victor is also still in great shape – at our recent fitness tests, he performed the best of all the forwards.

“Ruan is very experienced and in a key decision-making position. He will run things at the back with Bryan Habana and JP Pietersen backing him up.”

Meyer said of the selection of Whiteley, Kriel and Koch: “All three of them were magnificent in Vodacom Super Rugby and they deserve this opportunity. I’m excited to see how they step up to this level.

“I’ve always rated Vincent and followed his career for a long time. He has really improved a lot recently, which is testament to the hard work he and everyone who has worked with him, has put in. He has proved that players can become Springboks from one of the so-called smaller unions.

“Warren is a specialist No 8 and will have big shoes to fill with Duane Vermeulen out injured. Although he has played in only two Tests, he brings experience and leadership to the pack, having led the Emirates Lions with great style this season.

“The reason we’ve decided to go with Francois Louw and Marcell Coetzee is because we have lost some ball-stealing ability with Duane not available, but both our flanks can now fulfil that role.

“Jesse has played at outside centre before and starred for the Junior Springboks in that position in four of their five matches in 2014. He’s also been training with us for a long time and I’m sure he will slot in easily with Damian de Allende in an exciting but a little inexperienced midfield combination.

“I’m very excited to see how Jesse, Damian and Handré Pollard will play next to each other. They are still young and I believe they are the future. They will also have a very experienced back-trio next to them on Saturday. It’s important to have a combination of youth and experience and we’ll continue to work on that.”

The Bok coach added that he also had to keep in mind the return to the game of players who had been injured in the last few months.

“We had to bring players such as Oupa Mohoje, Schalk Burger, Cobus Reinach, Pat Lambie and Jean back at some stage and decided this was the best opportunity to do so,” said Meyer.

“The same applies for other players returning from injuries, who we will manage in the coming weeks. We don’t have a lot of time to get ready for the World Cup, so we will have to use every minute of game time we have wisely before we get on the plane to England.”

Jaque Fourie status

Meyer also announced that following a meeting with Jaque Fourie on Tuesday, a mutual decision was taken that he would return to Kobe, his club in Japan, to regain his fitness and to get game time.

“He decided to withdraw from the Springbok squad for now, but we agreed that the door is still open for him to be selected for the Rugby World Cup if he is needed,” said Meyer.

Stats and Facts:

– Ten players who played against the World XV in last year’s corresponding fixture, will be in action again on Saturday. They are Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Jannie du Plessis, Victor Matfield, who also captained the team, Francois Louw, Ruan Pienaar, Bryan Habana, JP Pietersen, Willie le Roux and Schalk Burger, who was also selected as replacement.

– The Springboks have played three official Tests against World XV teams – on 27 August 1977 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria (SA won 45-24), on 26 August 1989 at DHL Newlands in Cape Town (SA won 20-19) and on 2 September 1989 at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg (SA won 22-16).

– The Boks also played three non-Test matches against World XV teams – on 3 June 2006 at Emirates Airline Park (SA won 30-27), on 3 December 2006 in Leicester (SA won 32-7) and on 7 June 2014 at DHL Newlands in Cape Town (SA won 47-13).

– The referee is John Lacey of Ireland, who has been in charge of two Springbok Tests before, both in 2014 – against Argentina at Loftus Versfeld (SA won 13-6) and against Wales in Cardiff (SA lost 12-6).

    World XV squad

    Backs
    Delon Armitage (Toulon, England), Luke Burgess (Melbourne Rebels, Australia), JJ Engelbrecht (Vodacom Blue Bulls, South Africa), Mike Harris (Queensland Reds, Australia), Maxime Machenaud (Racing Metro, France), Maxime Mermoz (Toulon, France), David Smith (Toulon), Tom Taylor (Crusaders, New Zealand), Lachlan Turner (Queensland Reds, Australia), Rudi Wulf (Toulon, New Zealand)

    Forwards
    Steffon Armitage (Toulon, England), Bakkies Botha (Toulon, South Africa), Craig Burden (Toulon, South Africa), Petrus du Plessis (Saracens), Carl Hayman (Toulon, New Zealand), Louis-Benoit Madaule (Bordeaux-Begles), Alexandre Menini (Toulon, France), David Roumieu (Bayonne), Gurthrö Steenkamp (Toulouse, South Africa), Jordan Taufua (Crusaders), Flip van der Merwe (Vodacom Blue Bulls, South Africa), Luke Whitelock (Crusaders, New Zealand), Ali Williams (Toulon, New Zealand)

    Kickoff: Saturday 11 July at 17:00 local (15:00 GMT), Cape Town

    ADVERTISEMENT

    Related Articles

    • 64 WEEKS AGO

      Pieter Steph du Toit named World Rugby Player...

    • 68 WEEKS AGO

      Josh Larsen sees red for no-arms ruck charge...

    • 75 WEEKS AGO

      Throwback Thursday: Relive the Battle of...

    ADVERTISEMENT

    Great Tries

    • 2 DAYS AGO

      John Leslie's unbelievable 1999 try was the fastest ever scored from kick off in Test rugby

    • 1 WEEK AGO

      It's 30 years since France scored that epic 'Try of the Century' from beneath their posts

    • 2 WEEKS AGO

      Amazing acrobatic skills set up early try in Pro D2 Friday night clash

    • 2 WEEKS AGO

      WATCH: Arguably the most insane three minutes of Fijian rugby history

    • 2 WEEKS AGO

      Jonny Wilkinson's iconic performance that ripped Ireland apart in 2002

    View All

    Big Hits & Dirty Play

    • 1 DAY AGO

      Nicolas Sanchez ends up in tears after Red Card against Toulon

    • 3 DAYS AGO

      Re-live the utter madness that unfolded late in the 2009 Challenge Cup final

    • 4 DAYS AGO

      WATCH: The HUGE Currie Cup hit South African fans have been raving about

    • 4 DAYS AGO

      Ex-internationals discuss unfortunate forearm incident which left Tonga international motionless

    • 5 DAYS AGO

      WATCH: Brutal reaction to eye gouging leads to HUGE ban for Gloucester flanker

    View All

    See It To Believe It

    • 1 DAY AGO

      The aggressive Faf de Klerk tackling technique that draws comparisons to a snake

    • 3 DAYS AGO

      WATCH: Eben Etzebeth puts the world on notice with surprising positional switch

    • 4 DAYS AGO

      James Haskell defends McDonald's role in latest YouTube rant

    • 6 DAYS AGO

      Re-live THE Mike Phillips Six Nations try which still angers Irish fans to this day

    • 1 WEEK AGO

      Fijian winger cops heavy ban after that referee lifting incident that went viral and blew up his phone

    View All

    Funnies

    • 1 WEEK AGO

      Fijian wing who lifted a referee like Lion King now faces a disciplinary hearing

    • 2 WEEKS AGO

      Referee JP Doyle reacts to hilarious moment red card was dished out after bizarre celebration

    • 3 WEEKS AGO

      WATCH: Without doubt one of the funniest red cards in the history of rugby

    • 4 WEEKS AGO

      Nigel Owens produces comedy gold by forgetting crucial piece of kit during Pro14 clash

    • 6 WEEKS AGO

      The VERY BEST examples of when rugby players celebrate too early

    View All

    Amateur

    • 12 WEEKS AGO

      Viral video of Scottish club brawl goes down a storm with rugby community

    • 49 WEEKS AGO

      RUGBYDUMP BLITZ: This Best of the Week round up is sure to entertain you

    • 50 WEEKS AGO

      RD BLITZ - Disaster, just when it looked so promising...

    • 50 WEEKS AGO

      That glorious moment that will live on forever, like it or not

    • 50 WEEKS AGO

      RD Blitz - PROP'S Lionel Messi wizardy creates incredible try

    View All

    Player Features

    • 2 WEEKS AGO

      Brian Moore on money in modern rugby and how it should never be compared to 'outlier' football

    • 3 WEEKS AGO

      Tuisova's wrecking ball montage will make you grateful you never made it as a pro

    • 9 WEEKS AGO

      New Zealand rugby pod admit Owen Farrell is world class

    • 9 WEEKS AGO

      WATCH: Bath prop launches Amazon documentary focused on those from non-traditional backgrounds

    • 11 WEEKS AGO

      The highs and lows of Yoann Huget after he announced his retirement

    View All
    Jean de Villiers makes long-awaited comeback vs World XV | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos