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Fri Apr 18 16:11:28 SAST 2014

Bok coach wants Jean to remain at the helm

CRAIG RAY in London | 26 November, 2012 08:170 Comments
Jean de Villiers has captained every Springbok game since leading the side against England in June. His success so far will likely ensure that he remains in the role next year
Image by: TOM SHAW / GETTY IMAGES

HEYNEKE Meyer has backed Jean de Villiers to captain the Springboks in 2013.

The 31-year-old centre has impressed in his first year as Bok captain.

De Villiers was handed the reins just five days before the Boks' first Test of the season against England in June and has played and led in every match since. Saturday's 16-15 win over England at Twickenham gave the Boks their first unbeaten northern hemisphere tour since 2008 and only the fourth since regular tours north started in 1992.

The Bok coach said he was the "right man for this team at this time".

"He's one of only three players to have played in all the matches. He's an unbelievable ambassador off the field and, with the young team, he has a good balance of humour and seriousness. He can be very hard with them when he needs to be.

"If his form and fitness hold, I can't see any reason why he won't be the captain in 2013.

"He needs to be managed at the Stormers and has played 28 full games this season, which is tough on his body, so I hope he is handled properly," said Meyer.

De Villiers isn't sure if he will make it to the next World Cup, to be played in England in 2015, but he isn't ready to give up the notion.

"I don't look at the Rugby World Cup 2015 as a goal, because I'm taking it one year at a time," said De Villiers.

"I still have two years to go on my Western Province and Stormers contract and hope to see that out at the least.

"There will come a time when my body won't be able to take it anymore or a time when I will be asked to leave. The reality though is that it will come to an end at some stage, and I accept that."

De Villiers also had praise for Meyer.

"It takes time for the captain and coach to get used to each other and combine your different thinking patterns. But personally we have got on well and we've grown as a combination.

"The difference between captaining the Boks and the Stormers is massive. At a franchise you are promoted to the role through the ranks in a familiar system... but this year I was asked to do a job in an entirely new environment, in which we were all learning about each other."

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