De Villiers almost left South Africa



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The muscle injury that ended a second world cup for Jean de Villiers saved his career in South Africa with Western Province and the Stormers.

De Villiers suffered an arm injury in his first match in France (against Samoa) and the centre revealed this week that he had seriously considered playing for an overseas club in 2008 but the injury changed his mind.

“I looked at options before the World Cup started. Enquiries were made and I received good feedback but the injury put a stop to it all,” he told News 24.

“Captaincy of the Stormers has also provided me with a new challenge. I have not won a trophy in the Western Province and that is something I’d like to do. ” De Villiers was recently made Stormers captain, taking over from Luke Watson.

“Our opponents will underestimate us in the Super 14 competition but we know what we’re doing,” said De Villiers.

When he was asked about his reasons for looking at overseas options, he said a new coach always brought uncertainty but having been robbed of a chance on the big stage of the Rugby World cup he is now setting his sights on next year’s big rugby event.

“But I now feel I’d like to play against the British Lions in 2009. And there is some business I’d like to complete at Western Province.

“I love WP rugby. One cannot compare the money with what you can earn overseas but it’s about my passion for WP and the Stormers. I believe it was the correct decision to stay.

“WP and the Stormers have always been part of my family. They’re in my blood. I hope (the captaincy) is a big success but the well-being of WP rugby is the most important thing.

“This jersey is about everyone who has worn it before you did and in that context my being the captain is insignificant.”

Luke Watson has been in the news quite a bit lately for various reasons but de Villiers says that the captaincy appointment has not caused any problems even though there ha d been some rumours late last year. De Villiers has dismissed them as nonsense.

“I don’t want to associate myself with any individual. I get along well with everyone. I will rely heavily on Schalk Burger and Luke Watson.

“There are several leaders in our squad. Gcobani Bobo has also been in a leadership position. He adds much value as a leader.”

“We realise it’s going to be a rough road but we’re going to play out of our boots to win,” De Villiers said.

“Rassie Erasmus is a fantastic coach but it’s not only about him. We have a coaching team with a lot of experience. We could not have asked for more.”

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