SA not hamstrung by injured captain
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers may be under an injury cloud, but he is adamant it won't be a burden to the team.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers may still be under an injury cloud, but he is adamant it won't be a burden to the team ahead of the opening match of their year-end tour.
South Africa depart on Saturday on a trip that will see them take on Ireland in Dublin (November 10), Scotland in Edinburgh (November 17) and England in London (November 24).
De Villiers is still troubled by a hamstring injury that has troubled him for more than a month now.
The Bok skipper was confident that he will lead the Boks against Ireland next week, but admitted there remains some doubt over his fitness.
"I am getting better," De Villiers told a media briefing in Cape Town, adding: "[It is] not 100 percent yet, but definitely improving.
"When we get to Ireland, hopefully I can start full training with the team.
"Hopefully the rehabilitation will progress as planned."
He said that after a very busy year in which he captained the Stormers to the Super Rugby semifinals and then took over the Boks skipper's armband, the break from play for the last couple of weeks have refreshed him.
"Besides the hamstring, I am as fresh as a daisy.
"It really is amazing what one week, 10 days of no training can do to you.
"Just the mental side of it - even though I did spend a lot of time with the [Western] Province guys, leading up to the [Currie Cup] semifinal and the Final, and helped a bit with that, it really makes a massive difference.
"I am raring to go and just hoping my rehab go as planned and hopefully [I will] be on the field come Saturday next week."
De Villiers said he did not want to jinx himself by saying he will definitely play in Dublin.
"You never know with these things, when they can reoccur - it is a reoccurrence of an injury that happened the week before the All Black Test [in Soweto on October 6].
"We would not want it to become a chronic thing, but I am very positive that I will be on the field.
"I would like to say 100 percent, but I have learned in the past not to make that mistake."
De Villiers, who spent two seasons in Ireland in 2009 and 2010 with provincial outfit Munster, said the fact that they are on a three-math tour - as apposed to the usual four matches on these trips- will benefit them.
"From a mental point of view it makes it a bit easier," he said, adding: "It makes it a shortish tour and after that it is a holiday for the guys.
"There is a lot to play for and my attitude this time, compared to other trips where we played the entire Currie Cup and then go straight into the tour, is very different.
"I am really excited and by the way the guys have been training, you can see the excitement is there as well.
"That is very pleasing - the Sharks guys that played in the [Currie Cup] Final [and lost to Western Province], I've been in that situation so many times, where you have lost in the Final. The attitude of the individuals [Sharks players] has just been fantastic and it is great.
"That is a very pleasing aspect for me as a captain and hopefully we can take that positive attitude into the game."
By Jan de Koning