Jean de Villiers has been given the Springbok captaincy until the end of the year and shifted to outside centre. He insists he is up for the challenge.
De Villiers passed his entry exam against England as a No 13 and more pertinently, a captain, but significantly harder tests await. His tenure has started superbly but he will, at some stage, face self-doubt, an intruder he never seemed to be afflicted by before captaincy.
Complicating his plight is the knowledge that he wasn’t Heyneke Meyer’s first choice for the role. He probably wasn’t even his second or third.
No Springbok captain has operated in these circumstances before – a finite tenure with a coach whose hand has been forced through circumstance. But none have been as equipped to as De Villiers is at this stage of his life.
‘That’s life,’ he shrugs. ‘Maybe things didn’t work out as he planned, but they worked out in my favour. I plan to make my chance count.’
De Villiers goes on to explain why the Bok captaincy has come at the perfect time in his life and why his rugby philosophy doesn’t differ much from the ‘serious thinkers’ of the game like Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez. He also talks about his move to outside centre, what his time for Munster did for him as a player, the Rugby Championship, and his future.
Also in the new issue:
– While the Test series was won, the Springboks need to focus on what didn’t work against England
– Heyneke Meyer on the England series, Morné Steyn’s struggles, why the All Blacks and Wallabies have an advantage going into the Rugby Championship, and the Baby Boks who excite him
– The All Blacks showed against Ireland why they are the favourites to win the Rugby Championship
– Julian Savea is the latest wing off the Kiwi production line to get his Test career away to a flyer
– The Wallabies go into the Rugby Championship having learned valuable lessons against Wales
– In his regular column, Reds coach Ewen McKenzie looks at each Rugby Championship side’s unique approach to the game
– Argentina hope to be competitive, and perhaps sneak a win, in their first Rugby Championship campaign
– Juan Martín Hernández is back in the Pumas squad after a three-year absence
– The Baby Boks dethroned New Zealand to claim their first U20 title