However, de Villiers has put sentiment aside ahead of this weekend's crucial encounter with the Wallabies by opting for the pacier Conrad Jantjes at full-back.
The Springboks are in desperate need of victory having won just once in four Tri-Nations games so far and De Villiers said Jantjes was the best man for the job against the Australians.
"We brought Percy back last week because we felt that against Dan Carter, who is the best tactical kicker in the world, it was necessary to slow it down a bit," de Villiers said at the team announcement.
"But Matt Giteau is not quite in the same league as a kicker so we felt Conrad's pace should come into consideration."
De Villiers' will be short of speed with Bryan Habana, the man who once raced a cheetah for charity, ruled out for 10 days with a hamstring injury suffered in the defeat to the All Blacks.
Jongi Nokwe has been drafted in on the wing in his place after he scored on his debut in the Mandela Cup against Argentina a fortnight ago.
De Villiers was forced to defend a couple of his selections for the match, most notably that of scrum-half Fourie du Preez, who was not at his best against the All Blacks.
Ricky Januarie impressed in the earlier part of the Tri-Nations, highlighted by his late winning try against the All Blacks in their 30-28 triumph in Dunedin last month.
But he will cool his heels behind World Cup-winner Du Preez for the second week running and De Villiers believes that is the right decision.
"There is not much to separate the two in most aspects of scrum-half play, they are both good players, so I felt that maybe because Fourie has that extra half a yard there was no point in changing for this game," said De Villiers.
De Villiers revealed lock Danie Rossouw had been overlooked for selection as he continues to recover from a back complaint.
With Bakkies Botha also injured the Boks will go into the game with Victor Matfield and Andries Bekker.
"We felt we needed to give Danie extra time to recover from his injury (stiff back) so that he is ready to play for us at Ellis Park should he be needed," said De Villiers.