Jean de Villiers
Jean de Villiers retired from international test rugby in September following his injury against Samoa at Villa Park AFP

Jean de Villiers is set to play in the Aviva Premiership this season, with Leicester Tigers confirming that they have agreed to sign the veteran South Africa centre. The 34-year-old, who represented Pro12 runners-up Munster during the 2009/10 campaign, captained the Springboks at the Rugby World Cup before he was forced to withdraw from Heyneke Meyer's squad during the pool stage after suffering a fractured jaw during the 46-6 thrashing of Samoa.

That was the second time that De Villers, who promptly announced his retirement from international duties, had suffered such an injury in recent months, with the first incident coming on his return to test rugby in the 2015 Rugby Championship defeat to Argentina at the Kings Park Stadium in August. He also suffered a severe knee injury playing against Wales during the 2014 autumn series.


Leicester confirmed the signing on 27 October, with director of rugby Richard Cockerill telling the club's official website: "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 1 December."

Second-place Tigers have made a 100% start to the new season, opening with a comfortable win away to London Irish before defeating Harlequins 22-19 at Welford Road, courtesy of a late try from back-rower Laurence Pearce and Owen Williams' crucial conversion. Cockerill's side face Wasps and Exeter next before beginning their European Champions Cup campaign with a double-header against Stade Francais and Treviso in mid-November.