The big, bulky De Villiers made his Springbok bow at outside centre against France in Marseille on November 9, 2002 but suffered a serious knee injury just five minutes into the game. He returned to the Springbok frame two years later on the left wing and was one of the standout performers in the Boks’ successful Tri-Nations campaign, finishing joint leading try-scorer with Marius Joubert and Wallaby winger Lote Tuqiri.
In 2005, he made the inside centre position his own and captained South Africa against the World XV in Johannesburg. After being selected for the 2007 Springbok World Cup squad, De Villiers suffered another devastating injury when he tore his biceps in the opening game against Samoa and was ruled out for the remainder of the victorious campaign.
De Villiers returned with a vengeance in 2008 in what has been his greatest year to date. After a brilliant Super 14 season, which earned him as nomination for Super 14 Player of Year, De Villiers went from strength to strength and played in all 13 of the Springboks Test. His consistently great form saw him clinch a rare double of being named both the SA Player of the Year and SA Players' Player of the Year.
He won his 50th Test cap in 2009 and was a key figure in South Africa’s British & Irish Lions and Tri-Nations triumphs. At the conclusion of the 2009 international season, the master of the intercept has 55 Tests to his credit, holds the Springbok record for most Tests as a centre (44) and holds the Springbok record with Jaque Fourie for most Tests as a centre combination (21).
Records/Honours:Tri-Nations winner, 2004 & 2009SA Player of the Year nominee, 2005SA Player of the Year, 2008SA Players' Player of the Year, 2008Vodacom Super 14 Player of Year nominee, 2008Member of the World Cup winning Springbok squad, 2007British & Irish Lions series winner, 2009Holds Springbok record for most tests as a centre (44)Holds Springbok record with Jaque Fourie for most tests as a centre combination (21)