One of rugby's truly good guys returns for South Africa, seven months after horrific knee injury
One of life's good guys is back in action.
It appeared as if South Africa captain Jean de Villiers would struggle to play again, let alone make the 2015 World Cup, after he horrendously injured his knee in a November Test against Wales.
De Villiers, who played a season with Munster in 2009/10, must have feared for his career as he was stretchered off at the Millennium Stadium.
All told, the Springbok ruptured the anterior, medial and posterior ligaments in his knee, dislocated his left patella and tore his hamstring.
It was, in the words of South African physio Rene Naylor, 'The most horrific injury I have ever seen.'
Once the swelling died down and the injury was assessed, back home, he was given a return time-frame of nine to ten months. That would push his World Cup hopes very close.
De Villiers buckled down to a strict training regime, once he had recovered and rehabbed. He had missed the 2007 World Cup, which the 'Boks won, and was determined he would do everything he could to give himself the best comeback chance.
This morning, he was named in South Africa's team to face a World XV in an exhibition match that will serve as their warm-up for The Rugby Championship.
It has been 222 days since he endured the horror injury.
De Villiers faced the media today and, from his briefing, this is perhaps the most poignant remark.
@CharlieFelix just interviewed him - said when the last injury happened, he just wanted to be able to run with his children again..
— Tom Hamilton (@tomESPNscrum) July 8, 2015