South African Rugby
De Villiers prepared to drop star names
ESPNscrum Staff
April 18, 2011
South Africa head coach Peter de Villiers talks tactics with captain John Smit, South Africa training session, Shimla Park, Bloemfontein, South Africa, August 30, 2010
© Getty Images

Springbok head coach Peter De Villiers has admitted that he might have to axe a number of his most established players if they do not rediscover their best form over the remainder of this year's Super rugby season.

De Villiers is particularly concerned by the form of captain John Smit and winger Bryan Habana. Smit has been used at both loose-head and tight-head prop by the Sharks in recent weeks and he has failed to excel in either position. The real worry for Smit, though, is that De Villiers insists that he will only consider his skipper for selection if he is playing regularly at hooker.

"We already have loose-heads like Gurthro Steenkamp and Beast Mtawarira and tight-heads, Jannie du Plessis and CJ van der Linde to choose from," the Bok boss told Super Sport. "I am only going to consider John for the Springbok side if he plays at hooker. I am going see John Plumtree (the Sharks coach) on Monday to speak to him about the matter."

Habana's form is also a major cause for concern, with the winger looking a pale shadow of the player who was named IRB Player of the Year in 2007.

"I hope he gets back to his best soon because he is an inspiration to any team when he is at his best," he said. "Everybody goes through a bad patch in their careers at one stage or another. One just has to be thankful to Western Province for standing by him and supporting when things are not going his way.

"If you look at how people are writing him off, any player will pick up problems. The harder you try to prove people wrong, the more difficult it becomes for him to regain his form. But I will have to reach a stage where I will have to be honest with the players. My biggest challenge is to know when a guy has had enough, when he is past his best and is simply not good enough anymore."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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