S.Africa can shine on tour despite injuries, says captain

Sat Nov 3, 2012 6:54am GMT
 

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa captain Jean de Villiers believes his team can shrug off a long list of injuries to do well on their three-match European tour later this month.

The Springboks take on Ireland on November 10 before facing Scotland seven days later and England on November 24.

"We have come a long way as a team this year but we are looking to improve and take our game to the next level and win all three matches on tour," De Villiers told a news conference in Cape Town on Friday ahead of the squad's departure.

"We have a lot of youngsters because we are missing some injured players with a lot of experience. Guys like wing Bryan Habana, loose forwards Pierre Spies and Schalk Burger and hooker Tiaan Liebenberg."

The Springboks are not the only team suffering from the loss of key players - Ireland will be without captain and inspirational centre Brian O'Driscoll.

"I have huge respect for Brian, he is a fantastic player and they will miss his leadership," said De Villiers.

"But Ireland are a quality side. It is never easy playing a test match over there."

De Villiers has been injured himself and had to miss last week's Currie Cup final.

"I'm getting better. I'm not 100 percent yet but if all goes according to plan with the rehabilitation I should be ready for the Ireland match," he said.   Continued...

South Africa's captain Jean de Villiers stretches during his side's captain's run practice session ahead of the first rugby test against England in Durban June 8, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
 
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