Déjà vu for Boks' De Villiers

2013-11-20 22:06
Pieter de Villiers (Gallo Images)

Paris - Former France prop Pieter de Villiers will return to Paris for the first time since becoming the Springboks' forwards coach, to face the country he represented on 69 separate occasions.

De Villiers played almost his entire club career in France, winning the French title five times with Stade Francais, where he spent 14 years.

He made his debut for France in 1999 against Wales, five years after his arrival at Stade Francais.

He retired in 2008 and returned to his homeland where he joined his brother in a business venture before beginning to coach a team in Cape Town.

In April 2012, Meyer called De Villiers and asked him to join the Springbok set-up.

It will be his first time facing France.

"It's a big change! It's a great pleasure to return to Paris, seeing people I know, but it's very different to find myself up against France," said the 41 year-old, who scored two tries with Les Bleus.

And he will be well placed to offer scrum advice to his players as he knows a number of the current French squad from his playing days.

"Rabah Slimani was in the youth team when I was at Stade Francias, Pascal Pape, and I also knew Nicolas Mas from the France team," he added.

Meanwhile, Commenting on the return of Mtawarira, Du Plessis, Etzebeth and Steyn, as well as the inclusion of Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siya Kolisi on the bench, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer said he had rotated the squad during the final three Tests of 2013 in order to keep the players fresh.

"Gurthro, Adriaan, Bakkies and Pat did very well last week against Scotland and will have an important role to play this week," said Meyer.

"We have been quite fortunate with injuries this year and I'm very happy that we've managed to keep the continuity in selection.

"Most of the players have received ample game time and showed they have what it takes to perform at Test level. Our aim is now to keep on improving against France and hopefully end a very successful season on a high note."

The Springboks have won nine of their 11 Tests in 2013, losing only to the All Blacks, and 12 from the past 14, including last year's November tour.

South Africa and France have played twice at the Stade de France in Paris with France winning both (20-10) in 2001 and (26-20) in 2005.

Overall, though, South Africa have the edge with 21 wins to France's 11 and six draws.




South Africa:

15 Willie le Roux: 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain) 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Bakkies Botha, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Siya Kolisi 22 Jano Vermaak, 23 Patrick Lambie


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