Meyer impressed by Jean de Villiers World Cup progress
South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer will have been encouraged by the sight of former Munster man Jean de Villiers running hard at an ongoing national training camp in Johannesburg as the Springbok captain fights to get fit for this year's World Cup.
A massive influence to the team both on and off the field, De Villiers injured his knee in last November's 12-6 loss to Wales and his participation at rugby's most prestigious tournament remains in serious doubt.
While it is too soon to say whether the inside centre will be in England for the September 18 to October 31 showcase, the recent signs are very positive for the 34-year-old.
"He is way ahead of where he is supposed to be and we are really happy with his progress at this stage," Meyer said.
"I am very happy with Jean, he is in a good space, he is really training well and the medical team has really done a great job."
Team doctor Craig Roberts said De Villiers was close to stepping up his training but was still some way off being able to play.
"He's running pretty hard, he's running really hard. He is doing a lot of field training and doing a lot of conditioning," Roberts said.
"He isn't far from doing some team training, so we are happy with his progress, but it's still early days."
The temptation may be to rush De Villiers back as Meyer admits to sweating over his centre options.
The decision of how and when this might happen, whether it be in South Africa's internationals later in the year or the country's domestic Currie Cup competition that follows Super Rugby, has yet to be made.