Nurse Jean; don’t flog him

Jean de Villiers should not be playing Super Rugby this weekend.

South African rugby can be the only loser in Jean de Villiers’s return to Super Rugby this weekend.

The Stormers showdown with the Bulls is going to be a bruising match. The Stormers are not going to roll over and play dead and gift the Bulls a table-topping four league points.

South African derbies don’t allow for play-off favours. They don’t allow for any favours.

But I just don’t see where the gain is in playing the Springbok captain who missed last weekend’s match against the Kings because of injury sustained in the June home internationals.

De Villiers, in the last two seasons, has played nearly every Test and Super Rugby match available. There are concerns he won’t make it to the 2015 World Cup because of the wear and tear on his body and because he is the wrong side of 30.

You’d think he would be managed and nursed into battle. You’d think the management of one of South Africa’s most influential players would be a greater priority than playing in a team that can’t qualify for the play-offs.

De Villiers loves to play rugby. He wants to play every game, but the decision should not be his alone.

If the provincial, regional and national coaches continue to flog every playing minute out of him he won’t make it to 2015.

I just don’t get it.

Why the clamour to get him fit? Why the absolute need to have in a Stormers line-up when the season is finished in terms of title prospects?

Jean de Villiers should be preparing for the Rugby Championship through rest. He shouldn’t be leading the Stormers in Cape Town this weekend.

There is a bigger national picture and there is a bigger competition than Super Rugby.

Coaches constantly talk about player welfare, but it is always just talk.