“I thought about it long and hard and came to the conclusion that this is a must-win game and who are you going to back?” said Meyer.
“Samoa are the type of team that can beat any team they play against”, warned Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer.
De Villiers captained South Africa on 37 occasions and is the fourth-most capped player in South Africa rugby history.
Ireland captain Paul O’Connell played alongside De Villiers at Munster in the 2009/2010 season, and hailed the luckless Springbok in the wake of his retirement.
Tomorrow’s opponents, Samoa, played the part of underdogs in another contender for that crown when, as Western Samoa in 1991, they overturned Wales to stun the sport.
“I’m very aware of the criticism he has undergone for selecting me”.
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De Villiers said he knew as soon as he left the field he had played his last Test.
Meyer said: “Jean is not only our captain and one of the most experienced players in the squad, but he is also the glue of this team and to lose him is very sad”.
JP Pietersen is confident there will be no repeat of South Africa’s shock defeat to Japan when the two-time World Cup champions chase top spot in Pool B against Scotland and the United States. “Rugby will be poorer without Jean de Villiers“.
They have 11 wins in their last 12 matches with Scotland – the exception a 21-17 loss in teeming Edinburgh rain in November 2010 – and have won all three of their meetings with the U.S. by at least 23 points.
“Jean enriched my life and I hold him in very high regard, as person and rugby player”.
“We salute him first as a patriot; when he was called upon to marshal our national team he did so even at great risk of his own health”.
“We all know how important this game is for our country”, de Villiers said. “One performance is not good enough, so we’ll put everything into this week as if it’s a World Cup final”, added the 38-year-old.
But the second half was a different affair as the Springboks ran away with the game.
Samoa started well and took an early 6-4 lead when Mike Stanley scored two penalties and it looked like another tricky day at the office for South Africa. It was always going to be a tough game, but the senior players came through.