Jean could return a better player

Springbok centre Jean de Villiers could return home a better player says SA Rugby's acting managing director Andy Marinos. [more]

Jean could return a better player

Springbok centre Jean de Villiers could return home a better player says SA Rugby’s acting managing director Andy Marinos.

The man who wore the No12 shirt in both the first and second Tests against the Lions last month recently agreed to join Magners League winners Munster later this year.

The 28-year-old former South African Player of the Year will start for his country against the All Blacks this Saturday but will then put his international place in jeopardy after signing a one-year deal with a option for a further two years with the Irish province.

De Villiers’ decision to leave South Africa has disappointed many in the Republic but Marinos is still hopeful that the Boks may benefit in the long run.

Like De Villiers, Marinos himself was a Western Province and Stormers centre who moved from his homeland to play club rugby overseas.

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In 1999, Marinos joined Newport RFC and went on to win eight Welsh caps having taken up residency in the Principality. And, although he would rather de Villiers had opted to stay in South Africa, Marinos believes a change in scenery and a new environment could have benefits for both de Villiers and the Springboks.

"Jean was one of the players whom we were willing to offer a contract to," Marinos told Sport24. 

"But we respect his position. It is not ideal for South African rugby, but he wants to broaden his horizons.

"The players who make this decision, always run the risk that someone else could take their place, but it could also happen that Jean returns as a better player to South Africa."

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