Jean de Villiers: I'm honoured to have led the Boks

The former skipper is set to return home today to begin rehabilitation on his fractured jaw.

FILE: Springbok captain Jean de Villiers announced his retirement from international rugby after fracturing his jaw during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Picture: Saru/Facebook.

JOHANNESBURG - Springbok captain Jean de Villiers who announced his retirement from international rugby is set to return home today to begin rehabilitation on his injury.

The former skipper fractured his jaw during the team's 46-6 victory over Samoa on Saturday.

De Villiers recalled an emotional moment immediately after he got injured on Saturday and reckoned his Springboks time was over.

"When I got injured and I left the field, I knew that I had played my last Test for South Africa."

He became the 54th Springbok captain when he was appointed by coach Heyneke Meyer in June 2012.

"Injuries are part of rugby and I've had my fair share, so by now I know how to cope with them. It's very sad, but life goes on. I need to take it all in and move forward. I was quite sad on the one hand when I came off the field, as I knew I won't get the opportunity to play for my country again.

"Having played for South Africa for 13 years, I've been fortunate to experience so many great things and I got to know so many good friends, but you never think it would end like this."

De Villiers also reflected the one moment that stood out for him in his career.

"Probably my favourite moment as a Springbok was my 101 Test at Newlands with my two daughters in my arms as we took to the field. We recorded a brilliant victory against Australia and I was fortunate enough to have scored two tries. After the match, I played with my children on the pitch. I've had a blessed career and I will be forever grateful for that."

The 34-year-old made his debut in 2002 but went on to miss three following World Cups through injury.

"I suppose the last time I got injured at the World Cup against Samoa and went home, things didn't turn out that badly. So hopefully we can get the same this time around."

De Villiers, who captained the Boks 37 times, retired as the second most capped Springbok captain of all time.

He ended his career as the fourth most capped player in the history of South African Test Rugby with 109 matches behind his name.


His career has been riddled with injury, but it's been the quadrennial Rugby World Cup that has been most unkind.

De Villiers had been selected for four World Cups and at each one he suffered an injury.

He made his first senior-level appearance for South Africa in November 2002 against France, but suffered a major knee injury five minutes into the game.

The veteran centre would go on to miss the 2003 World Cup in Australia as a result.

The 2007 tournament, which the Springboks won in France was no different for him.

He won the World Cup with South Africa, although he tore a bicep during the opening game of the tournament and took no further part.

Four years later at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, injury was once again waiting for him.

In New Zealand he played just 25 minutes in the first game against Wales before he popped a rib.

He recovered and played the last Pool B game from the bench against Samoa.

It was still to be a bad ending for him as the Boks crashed to defeat against Australia in the quarterfinal.

His provincial and Super Rugby career at Western Province and the Stormers wasn't sparred either, missing large chunks of the 2015 season and previous years with various injuries, including a troublesome wrist niggle.

An announcement on the Springboks captaincy for the match against Scotland on 3 October will be made on Wednesday.

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