PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 07: Jean de Villiers poses for a portrait during a South Africa Springboks media session at the Pan Pacific Hotel on September 7, 2012 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Cape Town - Springbok captain Jean de Villiers is hoping to side-step the injury bogey that has hit him hard - and frequently - in the past.

De Villiers, who suffered a hamstring injury two weeks ago, stopped short of saying that he was 100 percent ready.

“I'm getting better and by the time I arrive in Ireland I hope I'll be 100 percent,” De Villiers said in Cape Town on Friday.

“You never know when these things (injuries) occur but I'm very positive (about attaining full fitness).

“I've learnt from past experience that you can never say for sure. If everything goes to plan I'll be on the field (against Ireland).”

The Bok skipper said besides his hamstring injury he felt refreshed after a 10-day break from the playing field.

“In the week leading up to the (Currie Cup) final I was out on the field, and helped a bit at WP,” he said.

“I'm hoping that I'll be able to play without problems on the three-week tour.

“I've been energised by the break and the body feels better and I'm looking forward to the tour.”

The Springboks depart on Saturday for the Outgoing Tour, which includes Tests against Ireland in Dublin (November 10), Scotland in Edinburgh (November 17) and England in London (November 24).

De Villiers spent two seasons in Ireland in 2009 and 2010 with provincial outfit Munster and knows what to expect from the opponents.

“I have a huge respect for the Irish,” De Villiers said.

“Having played there I know them well.

“With (their captain) Brian O'Driscoll out (with an ankle injury) Ireland will miss his leadership but they have other leaders in the squad.

“We are also missing players, but we're ready to represent South Africa. I am ready.”

“The results of the last four matches against Ireland show that we are in for a tight game,” he said.

De Villiers leads a Bok squad that has changed drastically since the last time they last played in Britain.

“It's very pleasing to see how those guys (the youngsters) have grown into their role in the squad,” De Villiers said.

“If you look where some of them were at the start of the year, like Eben (Etzebeth) for example, and where they are now... it's the same with Marcel Coetzee.

“It's good to see youngsters coming in to stake their claim, and I'm sure many others will follow.”

He said the team relished the opportunity to test themselves in northern hemisphere conditions.

“On this tour it will be about being able to adapt, being able to play to the best of your ability,” he said.

“There are a couple of nice challenges that lie ahead.

“We want to grow as a team and see how we perform in those conditions.

“Doing the basics right is the starting point and then we need to get the blend (between youth and experience) right.” - Sapa