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Injury to haunt skipper De Villiers ahead of Ireland showdown

“I have a huge respect for the Irish,” said De Villiers ahead of their clash in Dublin this month.

Image: Barry Aldworth/Sports Inc/Press Association Images

A RECOVERING HAMSTRING injury worried Springbok captain Jean de Villiers before upcoming Tests in Ireland, Scotland and England, but he still hoped to be on form for the tour, he said yesterday.

“I’m getting better and by the time I arrive in Ireland I hope I’ll be 100%,” De Villiers said in Cape Town before the team fly out today.

“I’ve learnt from past experience that you can never say for sure. If everything goes to plan I’ll be on the field,” he added.

A hamstring injury for his provincial side Western Province kept De Villiers out of action for the past ten days. The team doctor declared him fit to travel on Wednesday, but doubts still remained if he’d be ready.

“I’ve been energised by the break and the body feels better and I’m looking forward to the tour,” he said.

De Villiers had confidence in his young team with many senior players left out of the squad due to injury.

“It’s good to see youngsters coming in to stake their claim, and I’m sure many others will follow. I have a huge respect for the Irish,” said De Villiers ahead of their clash on 10 November.

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“The results of the last four matches against Ireland show that we are in for a tight game,” he added. South Africa won their previous encounter in 2010, but lost the three previous matches. The team would test the colder northern climes, he said, hinting at preparations for the 2015 World Cup in England.

“We want to grow as a team and see how we perform in those conditions,” said the skipper.

- © AFP, 2012

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