South Africa's centre and captain Jean de Villiers
Birmingham - Arab Today
Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup after suffering a fracture to his jaw, an injury coach Heyneke Meyer described as a massive blow to the team.
De Villiers sustained the fracture in South Africa's 46-6 victory over Samoa in a Pool C match in Birmingham on Saturday.
It is the second time in two months that De Villiers, winner of 109 caps in an illustrious 13-year international career, has broken his jaw, having first fractured it playing in South Africa's first defeat by Argentina in August in Durban.
"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," said Meyer.
It was a cruel stroke of luck for the 34-year-old centre, who missed the 2003 World Cup because of a serious knee injury and the 2007 final triumph when he was injured in the opening pool game.
He barely made this World Cup after returning from a long lay-off from a serious knee injury suffered against Wales in November.