Jean de Villiers is likely to continue as the Springbok captain into 2013 after impressing Heyneke Meyer with both his leadership and ambassadorial skills during a difficult first season for the new national coach.


When Meyer appointed De Villiers as the successor to John Smit for the first match of the season against England, it was just supposed to be an interim appointment until he got to know De Villiers and the other players better and then, in his words, make a more informed decision on the captain going forward.

There were stages of the international season where De Villiers was a bit short of his best and there was speculation before the start of this tour that it would be as much a test of the captain’s right to continue into next season as it was to be new flyhalf Patrick Lambie’s.

But De Villiers played well on the end of year tour and his leadership skills also came to the fore when he rallied his young team through a couple of difficult situations in matches against Ireland and England.

Speaking at an informal get-together with some of the travelling media before the squad departed their London hotel at the end of an unbeaten overseas tour on Sunday, Meyer said he wanted De Villiers to carry on in his current role.

He will be telling the captain as much when the pair fly back to London next week for the 2015 World Cup draw.

“Provided Jean is able to carry on and he continues to play like he is at the moment, and there is no reason why he shouldn’t be able to, then I would like him to carry on as the captain next year,” said Meyer.

“Jean was new to me at the start of the year in the sense that I had not worked with him before. I had only coached against him. But I went with him as the leader and it has worked out really well.

“He has done a great job in creating the culture of the team and he was one of the few players, there being two others, who played every test match this year. “He has proved himself to be a really good captain and he has been a great help to me during the course of the year, particularly with the way he has worked with the youngsters. “He is also an unbelievable ambassador for his country. He really is very good when talking to the media and communicating with the public, and he is a true leader in every sense. He was leading a young team, and sometimes the pressure of being an experienced player in a young team can create problems, but not with Jean.”

De Villiers is of course now the wrong side of 30, so it is debatable whether he will be around for the World Cup that Meyer’s team have in their sights for three years from now.



However Meyer believes good management of De Villiers could prolong his career.

“There is no doubt that Jean does need to be managed. I can’t remember what the statistics were, but before he had to pull out of the Currie Cup semifinal because of injury he had played an unbelievable number of consecutive matches, and he played a full 80 minutes in all those games.

“In the end I think it was a good thing for us that he missed out on the last two weeks of the Currie Cup.

“As some of you have written, it is probably not a coincidence that for the second consecutive year a young side ended up winning the Currie Cup.

“The demands of the long season are just so much, and I was really fearful that the game against England was going to be a match too many for us. I have never seen players looking as tired as the players have over this past week.”

Prop Jannie du Plessis, who after getting the wrong end of referee Nigel Owens’s rather confused blowing at the scrums pulled out of the game with an injury at the halfway point, played no fewer than 36 games this year, something that Meyer believes was just too many.

“We are going to have to find a way to manage our players better and I am going to try to find a way to do that,” said Meyer.

The good news for Meyer though is that Stormers coach Allister Coetzee was already talking seriously at the end of last season of managing De Villiers during the Super Rugby season, and it is understood he may be rested for quite a few games.

Apart from the emergence of someone like Damian de Allende as a young No 12 of quality, the Stormers are also intending giving Peter Grant more game time as an inside centre in 2013 as Elton Jantjies will be linking up with them as a flyhalf.

This could have another positive spin-off for both Meyer and De Villiers in that the Bok captain might then also be afforded game time at outside centre.

He played No 13 in the first part of the season before Frans Steyn was injured. Steyn is likely to slot in again at inside centre when he has recovered from injury, and De Villiers may find himself moving back into the outside channel.

7 Responses to Jean de Villiers to remain Bok captain in 2013

  • 1

    We’ll have to see what 2013 brings us…

    Fransie Steyn should be back at No 12, so that would leave Jean to go back to No 13… but Paul Jordaan (Sharks), Lionel Mapoe (at the Bulls), Juan de Jongh (as regular No 13 for the Stormers) could make some serious cases for inclusion ahead of jean at No 13.

    I also don’t see Jean getting place in the Springboks all the way till Rugby World Cup 2015, so what would the sense be to retain him as captain for 2013.

    I think the time for Francois Louw to step into the captain’s berth is ripe.

  • 2

    Another Captain who’s not necessarily the best player in his position – Deja Vu?

  • 3

    When I read this on a different Rugby site I must admit that I had mixed feelings.

    Jean is a certain type of 12. Likes to take the line on, and very good defensively. He leads from the front an asks and gives no quarter. He isn’t a classic play-maker 12 though. neither is Frans Steyn for the most part.

    When you look at his performances on the tour Jean played superbly. He was always going to play a certain way, and within that context he has done the job superbly.

    What concerns me is that he is a bit more limited at 13 IMO, and if Frans plays and Jean is captain, well then we know where he will play. It’s not his first choice position and I would prefer to play a specialist 13 there.

    Having said all this, I’d much prefer JDV at 13 than Jaco Taute.

  • 4

    Scary news. Will JDV last till 2015? I think not. Frans Steyn is also big and strong, but certainly is not someone who breaks the line through silky skills. He uses brute force. We need a 12 who is a good distributor. One Butch James comes to mind. He won’t make 2015, but until we have someone who can fulfil that role properly he will do.

  • 5

    4 @ Lion4ever:
    O flok nee… net nie flokken Butch Brainfart nie!

  • 6

    Frans Steyn is the q12 we need, we just need our coaching staff to understand the world has moved on in how the game is played,

    You need a Steyn with either Fourie, JDJ or Jordaan and inter passing is a must. Mapoe maybe an option too

  • 7

    Ostrich always says one thing in public, then does a complete turn around, so take this with a pinch of salt.


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