Springbok captain Jean de Villiers will miss the Incoming Series against Wales and Scotland in June, after he was ruled out for approximately eight weeks with a knee injury.
After experiencing some discomfort in his left knee on Saturday morning, De Villiers was pulled out of the Stormers’ Super Rugby match against the Cheetahs.
De Villiers underwent a scope in Cape Town on Sunday morning and the prognosis is that he will be out of action for almost two months. He will aim to be back by the start of Rugby Championship in August.
“Losing our captain is a massive setback,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.“Jean has been superb as our leader on and off the field and he was in excellent form as well. He is a wonderful ambassador for South Africa and is respected across the world as a leader - we will certainly miss him next month.”
Meyer pointed out, that along with the injury to Jacque Fourie, the Springboks would field both a new captain and midfield pairing.“Luckily we have good depth in the squad at centre, but replacing your captain is always difficult.We have a number of good leaders in the squad, but I don’t want to rush a decision on the captaincy as we still have to finalise the squad for June.”
De Villiers’ place in the training squad was taken by Sharks lock Stephan Lewies.
Meyer said the mood was upbeat in the camp, with less than two weeks before the Springboks’ season opener, against the World XV at Newlands in Cape Town.
“It’s great to see the excitement on the faces of the players, not only the uncapped guys, but also experienced Springboks,” said Meyer.
“Everyone knows this is a very important season and with 18 matches left until we depart for the Rugby World Cup, the players are keen to impress and fight for positions in the squad.” –Sapa