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Jean de Villiers © Gallo Images

Q&A: Jean de Villiers

Springbok captain Jean de Villiers has made himself available this week to answer our readers' questions.

The Springboks are hard at work preparing for this weekend's clash against England at Twickenham, but Jean was kind enough to put aside some time for this Q&A session.

We selected a number of questions to cover the main themes and Jean answered on subjects ranging from the Springboks' gameplan through to what it feels like playing in front of the passionate European crowds.

Below are his answers.

The question and answer session has closed.

Questions and answers
Renick asked:
Hi Jean.

It looks like things are coming together slowly but surely. How''s the body holding up and what''s your plans for the future? You are one of best centres ever the problem is you can''t play every game. Do you think if you are managed better we can squeeze one more world cup out of you?
Jean de Villiers answered:
As I’m moving on in my career Renick, my aim is really to take things one season at a time. If I’m lucky enough to make it to 2015, I’ll gladly take it, but if it doesn’t happen, so be it.
Pieter asked:
Hi Jean

Thanks for this upportunity and well done on a succesfull tour so far! My one question is, with 4 different flyhalves in the springbok games this year, do they all get to play their own game in the overall game plan or are they told to play in a certain way regardless?

Good luck with England!
Jean de Villiers answered:
Thanks for the support Pieter. To use the Afrikaans saying – “ons sal nooit iemand in ‘n blik druk nie” – we will always allow our players to follow their heads. Everyone involved knows what we want to achieve and how we want to do that.
Andries Becker asked:
Good Day Jean

There has been a massive debate regarding the distribution skills of our back line and the amount of ball our wings see due to the fact that the ball does not get past yourself or number 9 or 10 that often. Can you please elaborate why this is or seems that way.

Behind you and the boys 100%
Jean de Villiers answered:
I’m afraid there is no easy explanation for that Andries. If there is enough space and it’s on, we’ll spread the ball. If not, we won’t, but that is dependent on the field position and the defensive lines of the opposition.
Alex asked:
Hi Jean! Big Stormers fan and think your doing a outstanding job as Bok Captain! My question is looking forward to next year. With the Super rugby campaign being so long physically and mentally, will it be sensible to "rest" a couple of Boks during the Super games so that they can perform better in the Green & Gold? Or will they leave it to the coaching team to manage and train the players "on-the-go". Your thoughts on this.

Kind Regards
Jean de Villiers answered:
Thanks for the compliment Alex. Unfortunately I can’t comment on that, because it rests in the hands of the rugby bosses. But I’d like to believe all our coaching teams are looking at helping the national cause wherever possible.
Reon asked:
Hi Jean, thanks for your time! Huge fan of yours! 1question, what within the English gameplan/team do you see as weakpoint to attack and maybe capatilize on? I think personaly England lack defence out wide and on 10(Toby flood).. Defently 2channels we can attack! All of the best and good luck!
Jean de Villiers answered:
Interesting observations Reon. As this will hit cyber space before the Test, it would be better if I didn’t answer! No, only kidding. They are a very well balanced side and don’t have any weaknesses.
Jacques de Wet asked:
Hey Jean, I realise each game is different because of the opposition but why is it that we never see trained backline moves with the boks anymore. With this I mean the players running lines, switches, decoys etc. The SA public is crying out for some flair in the backline. The forwards are getting us great ball. In the last couple of games there were plenty of opportunities in the right areas of the pitch to unleash some backline moves but it wasn`t forthcoming.
Jean de Villiers answered:
We’re getting there Jacques – do you remember the try Bryan scored at Soccer City? That was from a planned move. Sadly the defences are so good these days, it’s difficult to get the fancy stuff going, but if the opportunity is there, we’ll definitely try.
Neal Prinsloo asked:
Hey Jean,

Being under coach Pieter De Villiers, and Jake White, and now Heyneke Meyer, as a current brilliant rugby player, what is your opinion on being Senior Bok coach? Would you ever venture into coaching the Boks one day?

Hope that all prep goes well before the England game on this Weekend!

Jean de Villiers answered:
Neal, that is a good question. I’ve not really thought that far, as I’m still enjoying playing too much, but who knows what the future might hold?
Mohammed asked:
Firstly i have to say to you Jean, you seem to be a perfect fit as Springbok Captain. Question, how can SA Rugby reach the intensity of All blacks Rugby? They always seem to be producing excellent talent and are consistent in their play. Their results speak for themselves over the years. We play them year in year out in Super rugby and the Championship rugby competition, yet we seem to be step or 2 behind. What do you think it comes down to and how can we reach their level, consistantly?
Jean de Villiers answered:
Thanks Mohammed. Comparing us with the All Blacks, to my mind, is futile. We’re different rugby playing nations with different strengths and weaknesses. They are doing very well at the moment and we’d like to be there as well, but in doing that, we need to do what we do best without trying to copy them.
Cameron asked:
Hi Jean,

I''m an South African student studying in Canada and religiously follow the Boks, always waking up early for the games and will never stop.

We all know this season hasn''t been our best, for understandable reasons, and the future looks bright. But my question is one I''m sure you hear all the time, have we not just become too predictable? A big theme this season has been lack of execution, but does our execution have to be 110% because our opponents know exactly what to expect from the Boks, so if we stray its very easy to shut us down?

There''s plenty merit in our current approach, but surely we have to supplement it with something fresh in order to challenge for that no.1 position?

A Bok fan through thick and thin,
Jean de Villiers answered:
Thanks for the support from afar Cameron. We’re evolving all the time, but the most important thing at this stage is to get the basics right and we’re getting there. Rugby changes and so do teams, but we’ve been very good in patches this year and need to look at getting that “80 minute performance”.
Carey-Anne asked:
What do you think the biggest thing that has to be improved before the match with England on Saturday
Jean de Villiers answered:
Carey-Anne, probably our discipline and to a lesser extent out execution.
Riaan asked:
Hi Cap!
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Here''s mine:
How much time do you think a midfield combination needs to spend together to start really gelling? You have been paired with so many centers and fly-halfs this season it must get frustrating.
Jean de Villiers answered:
Riaan, playing with the best players in the country is never frustrating, but it does take time for combinations to settle. Having said that, I think we’re improving weekly and I’m excited about what the future holds.
Louis asked:
Having also been involved in sport, I always found it hard to lift my game right at the end of the season. I know the bok management always say that the intensity will be there, but how do the players feel about this weekend''s game?
Jean de Villiers answered:
We can’t wait Louis. If any Springbok lacks motivation ahead of playing England at Twickenham, he should not come close to a rugby field.
Mark Otto asked:
You were quoted earlier this year when you were handed the honour of captaining the Springboks, "I believe the one thing that is non-negotiable for a captain is that he makes the right plays and makes the right decisions under pressure. That''s how I would like to define myself." How do you feel the role of captain has affected you''re performance on the park as a player? And referring to you''re quote, do you feel you''re making those big plays and the right decisions under pressure for the Springboks?
Jean de Villiers answered:
No Mark, not at all. It’s been a steep learning curve, but one that I’ve enjoyed immensely. The coach has given me a big amount of trust on the field and I’d like to think we’re getting it right more times than we’re getting it wrong.
Jan asked:
Hi Jean
Thanks for your time.

How big effect does it have to play infront of the passionate European crowds?Is it intimidating or rather serve as inspiration?
Lastly what is your favorite staduim outside of SA to play at?
Jean de Villiers answered:
Jan, I can tell you that playing in front of the crowds in the Northern Hemisphere is never easy. They are immensely passionate and they can lift their teams, like we saw at Murrayfield on Saturday. But the massive support also has an effect on us as a team as it galvanises us when the chips are down.

Hopefully that scenario won’t play itself out on Saturday, but I’ve always enjoyed playing at Twickenham.

My favourite stadium outside of SA - Thomond Park in Limerick, where I played for Munster a few years ago.

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