De Villiers impressed by Cockerill's passion


South Africa legend Jean de Villiers has spoken of his admiration for Leicester Tigers coach Richard Cockerill as the former Springboks captain nears his Premiership debut.

De Villiers agreed a move to the Premiership in October after calling time on his international career following the Rugby World Cup, the centre having broken his jaw during South Africa's 46-6 win against Samoa.

As a result of the injury the 34-year-old has yet to feature for the Tigers this season, but he has been impressed with the passion and enthusiasm within the club.

"Watching [on TV] I was always amazed by how passionate Richard Cockerill is," he told the official Tigers website. "There are similarities there with [former South Africa coach] Heyneke [Meyer] in a way.

"You cannot coach or teach that kind of passion, you can see the passion he has for the club and it places a value on the club and the jersey. You cannot buy that.

"That passion will take you a long way. 

"Last year the team struggled and had a lot of injuries but still got to the semi-final. That has an influence on this season and where we find ourselves because there were a lot of character tests and the guys got through it. 

"You learn from experience like that."