Jean de Villiers was named Springbok captain for 2012 before the series victory over England in June, which made him South Africa’s 54th Test skipper. He is one of the most experienced Springboks ever and a natural leader, having led Western Province and the Stormers during his provincial career. De Villiers is deceptively quick, has superb handling skills and has an uncanny knack for intercept tries. Injuries saw him miss the Rugby World Cup in 2003 and all but 40 odd minutes of the tournament in 2007, but in 2011 he was one of the Boks’ backline stars in New Zealand.
My Definition Of Success | I find it quite difficult to judge success, because it’s something one can attain on so many levels and being a rugby player, people think success can only be measured in terms of trophies won. Personally I think success is something you have to keep on striving towards, but can never really reach in totality. For me, the meaning of success has also changed as I got older – having had two beautiful children and seeing the joy one can get from being part of a happy family, is also a form of success and makes me immensely happy. So it’s not always about the rugby, rather life as a whole.
What Drives Me | I’m probably driven by my family first and then the fear of failure.
My Highlights | During my rugby career two moments will always stand out – first was making my Test debut for South Africa way back in 2002 against France in Marseilles, and secondly when Heyneke Meyer offered me the Springbok captaincy in 2012. Personally, I’d say the highlights included when I married Marlie and the two beautiful daughters we have, Layli and Lana.
The Difference Between good And Great | It all comes down to sheer determination – never giving up and always pushing the boundaries.
Characteristics Of Success | I would identify four – work ethic, determination, using setbacks as motivation and enjoyment.
Critical Skills To Develop | It’s vitally important to know exactly what is expected of you in doing your job to the best of your ability, knowing my strengths and weaknesses and striving for constant improvement.
Lessons I Have Learnt | Setbacks are a given and are part of life. It’s all about how you approach them, because if your attitude isn’t right, these setbacks could hold you down. On the other hand, if you make the most of a bad situation, they could ultimately make you a better person.
Performing At My Peak | Preparation is vital! Being a sportsman and as I got older, I also learnt that you need to ensure your body is in peak condition, so I have to take care of myself a bit more than in my younger days.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | My coaches and team-mates do that, as well as everyday regular people I come in contact with. I constantly learn what to do and what not to.
The Best Advice I’ve Received | Never give up.