Stormers’ De Villiers king of captains

2013-05-24 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Springbok captain Jean de Villiers will become the most experienced skipper in the history of Stormers rugby when he leads out the side for the 53rd time at Newlands tomorrow, against the Reds.

Only nine players — two of them South African — have more Super Rugby captaincy experience than De Villiers.

The two South Africans ahead of De Villiers on the list are Victor Matfield, who captained the Bulls 75 times and is second on the overall list, and John Smit, who captained the Sharks on 67 occasions (joint-fourth overall). Both also captained the Springboks.

De Villiers is currently level on 52 matches as Stormers captain with another former Springbok captain, Corné Krige.

Because of an injury to his Springbok midfield partner, Juan de Jongh, De Villiers has been moved to outside centre for this match, with Damian De Allende coming in at inside centre.

“We’ve been hit really hard by injuries, but we’re looking forward to [new] players bringing in new energy this weekend,” said Stormers coach Allister Coetzee.

“As a coach you make do with what you have and remain positive about the [next] fixture, but the reality is that we’re currently sitting with 15 players that are unavailable. Having said that, I’m excited about the new players in our team — all of whom have a chance to lay down a marker and all of whom brought plenty of energy and enthusiasm to training this week.”

Speaking about facing the Reds, the 2011 Super Rugby champions, Coetzee said: “The Reds are a challenging team. They beat us at Newlands two years ago and I expect the same [from them] from a tactical point of view.

“They’re probably disappointed at losing [to the Cheetahs] last week and they’ll probably be chasing a four-try bonus point. We’re confident in our defence, however, and hopefully we can make our opportunities on attack count.”

Kick-off is at 5:05 pm tomorrow.

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