Jean jolted by mammoth 2005

Jean de Villiers’ groin niggle has proven to be far more serious than initally thought, and he is still not certain to play against the Highlanders in the Vodacom Super 14 at Newlands on Saturday.

De Villiers, who has been named in two consecutive starting teams but failed to emerge from the tunnel in either encounter, will be hoping that three’s a charm.

Coach Kobus van der Merwe penned his chances at 80% in the week heading into the Brumbies clash, and speaking to, De Villiers revealed that a week’s progress has yielded little more encouragement.

“I ran at 85% today and felt no pain,” De Villiers said. ‘I’m feeling good and at this stage I’m probably closer to playing than not playing, but I’m obviously not going to rush back if I’m not 100%.”

De Villiers believes that a 2005 in which he played all but one of the Stormers’ Vodacom Super 12 fixtures, every Test and a few Currie Cup games is having a lingering effect.

“I defintely think that the amount of games I played last year has had an effect on this injury. You just don’t get any rest, and whilst I’m not blaming it entirely on that, it certainly is a major contributing factor. I spoke to Professor Tim Noakes, and he said that a player can play the amount of games I did last year and be fine for that season, but the crunch comes in the following year when he has to be carefully managed. I’m obviously very vigilant about burn-out, and maybe the injury is timely as it shows that I can’t play every game year after year.”