Springbok and Stormers centre Jean de Villiers, who has been cursed by injuries in past World Cup years, will hope that his latest setback isn’t serious enough to spell disaster for a third time.
De Villiers will miss the Stormers’ Super Rugby crunch match against the Blues on Friday with a chest injury that coach Allister Coetzee fears may rule his vice-captain out of the remainder of the Cape Town franchise’s tour of New Zealand and Australia.
“It’s an old injury that was picked up against the Crusaders and he had another knock to the chest against the Chiefs which he has aggravated further,” Coetzee told rugby365.com’s Timmy Hancox.
“He’s in a lot of pain at the moment and he couldn’t complete training on Tuesday, so he’s been sent for a scan and we’re waiting for the specialist’s opinion.
“We’re still no sure of the extent of the injury, but it’s his chest muscles and his sternum, so there are two places with some excess fluid and some bleeding.
“After we hear from the specialist we’ll make a decision about whether he can continue on tour or not.”
The injury prone centre’s international career started with awful luck when he suffered a serious knee ligament injury just five minutes into his Springbok debut against France in 2002 as a 21-year-old.
After six months on the sidelines De Villiers returned to action and caught the attention of the national coaches with superb form in the Currie Cup and was included in the 2003 World Cup squad.
However, in the Boks’ final warm-up match against the Falcons he ruptured shoulder ligaments and missed the showpiece event, although that could be argued to be a blessing in disguise as South Africa’s campaign was their poorest to date.
The former South African Player of the Year was an established senior member of the Bok setup at the 2007 World Cup, where he tore a bicep in the opening match against Samoa – which ruled him out of what would be a victorious campaign for the team.
The 30-year-old has shown tremendous resilience to come back from so many injuries and win 67 Test caps for his country – now holding the record as the most capped Springbok centre.
De Villiers could be excused for wondering if lightning will strike a third time and derail what is likely to be his last opportunity to take part in a World Cup.Tweet