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Rugby | Springboks

Jean de Villiers © Gallo Images

De Villiers energised by age questions



If there is one thing that brings a smirk to Springbok captain Jean de Villiers’s face, it is questions about his future.

At the age of 32, he knows he isn’t a spring chicken anymore, but while he quietly goes about playing the game, it isn’t surprising he is a bit bemused by the consistent questions about the Bok captaincy and his future.

De Villiers stepped into the void when Heyneke Meyer took over and there simply wasn’t a candidate with as much experience and who was sure of his place in the side.

Now, a year later he is still there and has led the Boks well, taken the flack for a difficult first year and still managed to produce a level of play that most players would envy.

Still, the looming question of who will lead the Boks in 2015 to the Rugby World Cup means that every now and then De Villiers will get asked, once again, about his future.

“I might be 32 but I definitely don’t feel like it. I’ve played 14 games of 80 minutes this year and there are no signs that the body is giving in,” he smiled on Friday, confirming that he wasn’t likely to quit anytime soon.

But he also had a word or two for those who keep on harping on about his age.

“I’m happy. A lot of time we just see age and we decide this guy is too young or too old. At the end of the day it comes down to your performances and how you are doing. If you’re playing well enough, then you are old enough, or young enough for that matter.”

Certainly there will be few who can argue otherwise for De Villiers, even in a Stormers side that is suffering a crisis of playing conscience, still looks every bit as dangerous as he did way back in the early 2000s when he first became a household name.

But 2015 is there and the question is still up to be answered, so De Villiers simply answered it as honestly as he can.

“To say now that 2015 is a goal of mine is perhaps a little premature. For me now, I’m focused on having a good season this year, playing well tomorrow and then playing well next week as well. If this year goes well, I’ve still got another year on my Stormers contract and then I might reassess and see where I’m at.

“The reality is that at some stage you’re going to stop. It is going to be over. For me now, it is just about enjoying the surroundings and the guys you’re doing it with. It is a special bunch of guys in the team at the moment.”

And when that day comes, he will know. The date isn’t that important. Rugby teams are built more around leadership groups nowadays than individuals anyway.

But for now De Villiers may be a veteran, but tired is certainly not an adjective that fits the bill.

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