Cape Town - Western Province coach John Dobson says that he expects Jean de Villiers to play against Argentina for the Springboks in Durban next weekend.
The Springbok centre played a full 80 minutes in WP’s 21-18 win over the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, though he did move to the wing in the final quarter of the game.
Dobson had said before the match that De Villiers would not play for longer than an hour, but revealed on Monday that the 34-year-old was adamant that he wanted to stay on the pitch.
“He was insistent on playing 80,” Dobson said.
“He said he would have played flank if he had to. He went to the wing and what he was really chuffed about was that he could accelerate.
“He could have scored a try, he dropped the ball (in the first half). He was a lot sharper. I think the plan was always that he would play against Argentina so I’m sure he’s in the fray for that.”
Dobson acknowledged that De Villiers probably wasn’t on the level he needed to be at just yet, but noted the improvement that he had shown every week since making his comeback from the knee injury that kept him out of rugby for almost eight months.
“To be brutally honest if you watched that game you wouldn’t have thought he was a leading centre in the world,” said Dobson.
“But the improvement he has shown each week is great. From the World XV game to the Pumas to the Kings… what isn't doubting is his appetite and his energy and bravery. By his own admission he’s still got a bit to go.”