Those hand signals that Springbok centre Jean de Villiers makes after scoring tries in Test rugby are messages to someone dear to him.
“It’s someone’s name that I write; someone close to my heart,” the midfield star revealed on Wednesday.
Stephen Nell writes in Die Burger that De Villiers scored three tries in South Africa’s first two Test matches of the season. He was named Man of the Match after scoring a brace in the second Test against Wales last weekend.
His gesturing after scoring tries has been a matter of conjecture among Springbok supporters for a long time.
“Because of the rugby, I am away from home a lot,” he explained on Wednesday. “There are people in my life who make sacrifices.
“Those gestures are a little message that I write; someone’s name. That’s as much as I’ll say about it.”
“I do it every time I score a try. It began two years ago but people have probably noticed it only now because I am scoring tries again, for a change.”
The blond centre believes he has not regained his best form, even though two respected international coaches have praised him recently.
Welsh coach Warren Gatland and Italy’s Nick Mallett are among those who feel De Villiers is one of the best midfielders in the world.
“I received a nice compliment from Gatland, and now also from Nick,” De Villiers said.
“That is what players strive for, but I feel the only one I’m competing with is myself.
“As long as I play good rugby and add value to the team, I am happy, even if I’m not regarded as the world’s best centre. But I’m grateful for the compliments.”
Springbok coach Peter de Villiers will announce the SA side for Saturday’s Test match against Italy on Thursday.
Supporters in the Western Cape will know then whether local heroes such as De Villiers, flyhalf Peter Grant and loose forward Schalk Burger will be in action at Newlands on Saturday.
Burger saw a specialist about his knee injury earlier this week but nothing about the outcome was said in the SA squad on Wednesday.Tweet