Jean aims for July return

Jean de Villiers's amazing recovery from a knee injury could see him back for the Rugby Championship.

The Springbok captain ruptured his anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments, dislocated his knee cap and tore his hamstring all at once against Wales in Cardiff last November.

While De Villiers initially looked set to miss the World Cup, which starts in September, the 34-year-old could be back in action as early as July for the Rugby Championship.

'I'm a little ahead of schedule at 14 weeks post-operation,' De Villiers told Sunday Times rugby writer Craig Ray. 'The injury itself was terrible, but the rehabilitation since then has been perfect.

'This week I had a minor issue when I felt some pain and discomfort while doing some exercises. It's nothing serious, though. You don't expect it to go well every day.

'I haven't set an exact return date, but I can't see it being sooner than six months. I hope to be back playing in July.'

Photo: Barry Aldworth/BackpagePix

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Simon Borchardt