Springbok wing Jean de Villiers wants to play in his favourite inside centre position again, but for now he is just happy to get another opportunity to play for South Africa again.
Adnaan Mohamed – Sport24
The veteran of 59 Tests, who has played the majority of his rugby at inside centre, will start at right wing in the second Tri-Nations Test against the All Blacks at the Westpac-stadium in Wellington on Saturday.
“Wing is obviously not my preferred position, but I have played at Munster for 10 months now. I didn’t play at home which made my selection for South Africa so much more difficult. So, getting another opportunity for me is just fantastic,” De Villiers said at the team hotel on Tuesday.
“Hopefully I will get another go at 12 to prove that I am still good enough to play there. But for now my focus is at 14. Hopefully I can put up a better performance than last weekend, because we were quite dismal last week.”
He says he hasn’t played on the wing for a while and he expected to be a “bit rusty”.
“I did play there against Italy, but prior to that it was five years ago since I last played on the wing. You do get a bit rusty because in the midfield you get used to playing in a position that is a bit closer and demands different attributes from a player.
“It’s tough, but if you get selected for your country you have to be up for it. You just have to adapt and play good rugby,” said De Villiers.
The former Stormers-captain who is contracted with Western Province again, said he hasn’t really had the opportunity to discuss his move to the wing with Bok coach Peter de Villiers yet.
“For me it’s just a great opportunity to be selected into the team again. All I can do is say thanks and try to get the job right.
“If you look at the squad there are not too many wings available for us at the moment. A lot of the guys like JP Pietersen, Lionel Mapoe, Jongi Nokwe and a couple of others picked up injuries in the Super 14.
“There was a bit of a gap and the coach thought it best to play me there. Hopefully I can prove him right this weekend.”
De Villiers conceded that his move to Munster set his international career back a bit.
“I always knew that if I go over there (Munster) someone would come in, have good Super 14, and take my position in the team. And that is exactly what happened.
“I thought Wynand (Olivier) had a fantastic Super 14 and deserves his place in the team now. Even a guy like Juan de Jongh is unlucky not to be in the match 22. He can slot in there as well.
“I went over to Munster knowing that it might happen and it did. However, it’s another great challenge for me to come back and fight my way into the position that I want to be in the team,” he explained.
“I gained so much by playing there and really enjoyed that. It was not only for the rugby, but the life experience as well. I made a lot of friends from New Zealand, Australia, France and Ireland.
“I played with guys like Doug Howlett, Nick Williams and Toby Moreland. The experience as a whole for me was fantastic Sometimes you have to make decisions not only based only on rugby because rugby is just a small part of your life,” he added.