Springbok star Bryan Habana has spoken of his admiration for his country's current coach.
Widely regarded as the world's leading wing, Habana was a key member of the Bok side that secured a 2-1 series triumph over the Lions this summer.
But while Habana himself is used to being praised for his performances in the green and gold of South Africa, the 26-year-old had plenty of positive remarks to make about Peter de Villiers ahead of this evening's Test with France in Toulouse.
"For me, personally, I have had a relationship with Peter since 2004, when he was my Under-21 coach and we went to Scotland," Habana told Rugby365.
"What I have been able to learn from Peter, not only on the field, but off it as well, the relationship I have been able to build with him over the last five years has been special.
"When I first became a Springbok he was one of the first guys I text, to give him a call and have a chat to him about all of it. He is a fantastic person."
Prior to leading the Boks to victory over the Lions in June, de Villiers had come under fire from large sections of the South African public after a run of inconsistent results. But de Villiers met that criticism in the perfect manner, avenging the 1997 series loss to the Lions and then clinching a first Tri Nations title in five years.
And with the Boks now firmly established as the globe's leading side, Habana is keen to see that de Villiers receives his fair share of the plaudits.
"He really stands by what he believes in and that lends itself to the success of where the Springboks are at the moment," added Habana, who starts against the French in the first Test of the Boks' European tour.
"I am very fortunate and privileged that he has backed me when he could easily have let me go or not picked me.
"I've been privileged to have been part of his plans and I really do owe him a lot to where I am now as a rugby player.
"I really am appreciative to what he has been able to lend, not only as a coach, but as a person as well."