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De Villiers on his way to Welford Road

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Leicester Tigers are delighted to announce that the club can confirm the signing of former South Africa captain Jean de Villiers.With 109 Test caps, de Villiers is among the most experienced players in the world game.   He was part of South Africa’s World Cup winning squad in 2007 and captain of the 2015 campaign but announced his international retirement after suffering a fractured jaw in the second round of the tournament.   Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said: “Jean brings invaluable experience to the squad. He is among the leading centres in the modern game and has played at the very highest level for a significant period of time.   “In recent seasons we’ve brought in players like Brad Thorn and Lote Tuqiri from successful environments in the southern hemisphere and they have made a significant contribution here. The signing of Jean de Villiers is another move in that style and we look forward to welcoming him and his family to the Tigers and to him starting work with us on December 1.”   Originally a wing, de Villiers made his Test debut in November 2002 before settling at centre with Western Province and the Stormers, playing in finals of both the Currie Cup and Super Rugby. He also had a spell at Munster in Ireland.   Now 34, de Villiers is South Africa’s most-capped centre and in 2014 became the fourth player to reach a century of senior caps for the country. He has twice been named South Africa Player of the Year (2008 and 2013).