Meyer lends Jean public support
Jean de Villiers’ moment of public introspection after the Stormers’ defeat to the Sharks in the Super Rugby semifinal appears to have concerned national coach Heyneke Meyer enough for him to say he will have a chat to the Springbok captain about it.
A dejected De Villiers, facing a barrage of questions from a Cape media contingent clearly disappointed at yet again seeing their team go out at the semifinal stage after a great league season, said at the post-match press conference after his team’s defeat to the Sharks that the result caused him to question his captaincy.
Of course Meyer was not there and De Villiers’ words could have been interpreted differently to the way they were put across in the public forum, but the Stormers captain was visibly upset and it might not be a bad idea if the Springbok coach did have a little word in his ear geared towards boosting his confidence.
Certainly Meyer doesn’t appear to buy into any theory that De Villiers’ captaincy let the Stormers down, and neither should he, for the coach is quite right when he says that the Bok outside centre did well to guide an often depleted Stormers team to top position on the final overall log.
“I will definitely have a chat to him as I don’t think he should say things like that. He must look at the positives, what he has done for a team that was without Schalk Burger and Duane Vermeulen, and also Andries Bekker for much of the season. If you look at it like that, what he achieved with the Stormers was awesome,” said Meyer.
“Jean is actually in a great space, and I want to vouch for him. I thought the Stormers had a brilliant year if you look at all the injuries they had and guys playing out of position. If you look at all the youngsters that came through, and there was a lot of disruption.
“Eben Etzebeth is only 20 years old, and so are Frans Malherbe and Steven Kitshoff. As a leader Jean did brilliantly to get that team to top of the South African conference and then to top of the log. We’ve seen New Zealand on top of the log and then losing the World Cup once or twice. I think Jean is a brilliant captain. In a way what he said was just typical of him – he always looks at himself and blames himself first.”