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Sun Apr 20 15:36:10 SAST 2014

Heyneke still backs his skipper

CRAIG RAY | 08 August, 2012 06:530 Comments
2012 The Castle Rugby Championship: Springboks training session
Jean de Villiers during the South African national rugby team training session at High Performance Centre on August 06, 2012 in Cape Town
Image by: Ashley Vlotman / Gallo Images

JEAN de Villiers might have doubted his own captaincy after the Stormers lost to the Sharks in the Super 15 semifinals, but Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer is having none of it.

Meyer said he still had faith in his Springbok captain.

He appointed the Stormers skipper earlier this season to succeed John Smit as the Bok captain.

After the Stormers were beaten 26-19 by the Sharks two weeks ago, an emotional De Villiers was deeply dispirited, especially since it was his team's second successive defeat in a Super 15 semifinal.

"I'm starting to doubt myself," De Villiers said. "When this keeps happening you start looking at what the real issue is, and you try to find the answers.

"There is a lot of emotion but I'm digging deep to find the answers and it's causing me to doubt my leadership."

But Meyer is backing De Villiers to lead the Springboks in the Four Nations tournament featuring New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.

It starts for the Boks next week against Argentina at Newlands, the scene of the Stormers' most recent defeat.

Said Meyer: "[De Villiers] must look at the positives, what he has done for a team that was without Schalk Burger, Duane Vermeulen and Andries Bekker for much of the season.

"I thought the Stormers had a brilliant year if you look at all the injuries they had, with guys playing out of position and all the youngsters who came through. There was a lot of disruption.

"Jean did brilliantly to get that team to the top of the South African conference and then to top of the log."

After a couple of weeks to stew over the defeat De Villiers has no doubt refocused and moved on, hopefully with more determination to make sure that the Springboks enjoy the success that the Stormers missed out on.

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