Jean back for Tri-Nations

Wayne Julies has joined the Springbok squad as cover for the injured Jean de Villiers.

The inside centre bruised several ribs in the clash against Scotland on Saturday

“It is more than just one rib that is bruised, and with ribs it is always hard to tell exactly how long it will be before a player can return,” Springbok coach Jake White told a media conference in Port Elizabeth on Monday.

The good news is that De Villiers should be fit for the all-important opening Tri-Nations encounter against the Wallabies.

“It could be two weeks, it could be three weeks or it could be four weeks,” said White. “But the medical staff have informed us that he will be ready for the Tri-Nations, and that is what we will be aiming at. The game in Brisbane (on July 15) is when we will expect him back.”

De Villiers took a heavy knock in Saturday’s game, and left the field after 54 minutes clutching at his flank. Although he was obviously in terrible pain, the extent of his injury was not confirmed until this morning.

Although Julies has experience in the No 12 position at this level, White well may continue with the impressive Wynand Olivier at first centre. The calling up of Julies also indicates White’s reluctance to reinstigate the Tri-Nations-winning De Wet Barry any time soon.

De Villiers’s injury has now provided a great opportunity for the Bulls playmaker, who has shown that he has the skills needed to become a world-class midfield player.