De Villiers prepared for tough battle

PA Sport
Jean de Villiers is relishing the midfield battle against England

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Jean de Villiers is relishing the midfield battle against England

Jean de Villiers is expecting a tough baptism as South Africa captain when he comes up against England midfield pair Manu Tuilagi and Brad Barritt.

Springboks centre de Villiers was this week confirmed as captain for the three-Test series against England which begins in Durban on Saturday.

De Villiers, 31, said: "Manu Tuilagi has shown he is a massive threat on attack and defensively he is very solid as well. He has really formed a great partnership with Brad Barritt."

He added: "Frans and I will have our work cut out tomorrow. It is going to be a tough day at the office but it is a challenge we are looking forward to.

"We are representing our country, they are representing theirs and that is what Test match rugby is all about.

"It is putting your bodies on the line and digging in for your country."

De Villiers has dismissed fears the Springboks might be under-prepared going into their first match under new coach Heyneke Meyer at Kings Park.

Meyer's new-look squad only assembled for the first time earlier this week after a round of Super 15 matches last weekend.

De Villiers said: "I really think we have had a fantastic week preparation-wise.

"We have only had three days but the camps Heyneke did during the year with the franchises has really worked and we are reaping the rewards now."

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