Jean a great captain – Wynand Olivier

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Ashfak Mohamed

Port Elizabeth

The Springboks’ likely new inside centre for Saturday’s final Test against England has praised captain Jean de Villiers for “making things easier for me” on the field.

Wynand Olivier is set to named in the Bok starting line-up at No12 today in place of Francois Steyn, who is getting married this weekend, and win his 37th Test cap.

The Bulls stalwart, who turned 29 on June 11 this year, will team up with skipper De Villiers in midfield, and says that he is excited about the opportunity of playing alongside a veteran of 74 Test matches.

“It’s a big opportunity to play with Jean. I think the last time I played with him was in 2006 or 2007.

“Jean has a lot of experience, and I have got a lot of respect for him, and I must say that I enjoy playing with him. He brings something different to my game as well,” Olivier said yesterday during a media briefing at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, the venue for Saturday’s Test.

“And the way he is as a captain, it’s great. He brings a totally different dimension to my game, and I can learn a lot from him as a rugby player.

“With Jean’s experience, he talks quite a lot and makes things easier for me.

“I haven’t played much with him now, but the 30 minutes I played last week was nice.

“We didn’t get as much ball as we would’ve liked, but still, it’s still nice to be out there and chat with him about different things.”

The Boks employed a refreshing and attacking game plan that caught the English somewhat off-guard last week in the series-clinching 36-27 victory in Johannesburg, and Olivier confirmed that the Boks want to continue in that vein in PE.

Along with De Villiers, he will have a big role in ensuring that the Boks play with width, while also standing strong in defence.

With Gio Aplon set to be picked at fullback in place of the injured Pat Lambie, it gives the Boks even more bite at the back.

“We definitely want to build on how we played in the second Test. I thought that the first half last week was great.

“We won our set pieces, our breakdown was quite good.

“If we can bring guys like JP (Pietersen), Bryan (Habana) and Gio into the game, that’s obviously the main focus for us as backs as well,” Olivier said.

“It’s great for the centres and the flyhalf to see your wing scoring tries.

“So, we would like to get the guys into the game and see them scoring tries, but we will see how the game goes.

“We will obviously focus on the set pieces, and we have got some different stuff we are focusing on.”


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