De Villiers Admits Disbelief At Earning 100th Cap
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Jean de Villiers can scarcely believe he is set to make his 100th Test appearance against New Zealand on Saturday.
The South Africa skipper made his first international appearance against France in Marseille in November 2002 when he suffered a bad injury and was sidelined for almost a year.
And, after recovering from knee ligament damage, he returned to the sport only to sustain another injury forcing him to endure another lengthy spell of absence.
The injury suffered on his debut meant he did not reappear for the Springboks for two years, but in 2012 he was named captain following the retirement of John Smit.
He admits that it has been a long tough road but is relishing another big match against the All Blacks this weekend.
“There were definitely times when I did not think I would get to cap number two,” he said.
“Making your international debut is always special, getting injured seven minutes into it is not what you dream about.
“Being out for nine months, coming back for the World Cup and getting 15 minutes then getting injured again in the warm-up, another eight months out. You certainly test your character.
“I went through a lot of hard times but I believe I got through it stronger.
“I never imagined I would get to 100. I feel very fortunate in that regard because I never thought I would get to two.”
As for the Rugby Championship game in Wellington, de Villiers added: “Whether it’s your first or 100th, you play to win and I’d like to think we will be highly motivated to win and do the Bok jersey proud.
“When it comes to rugby, it’s the ultimate challenge to play against the All Blacks.
“I was fortunate enough to play my 50th game against them in Durban and now for my 100th as well against New Zealand.
“We are a team for everyone in South Africa, a team that all the kids can really aspire to and relate to.
“I do believe that South Africa-New Zealand Test matches are pretty special and down the line we have had some fantastic games. Saturday will be no different.”