Who will lead the Boks?

2014-06-01 15:00

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Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer deferred making the crucial decision of who will captain the national side when he named his first squad of the year last night.

The decision has been made that Jean de Villiers will return from injury to resume his leadership role when the Rugby Championship kicks off in August.

Meyer has decided not to commit in haste to a captain, or captains, for the June tests, which kick off against a World XV at Newlands on Saturday, followed by Wales and Scotland.

He will not make up his mind until later this week.

Will he appoint Victor Matfield for the sake of continuity and to have a man who knows his methods? (Matfield has captained the Springboks 17 times.)

Or will he name a new captain, looking ahead to the future?

Although he has a number of players who might assume the captaincy, the only other real option is Bismarck du Plessis.

The fiery hooker has led his Sharks team to the top of the Super Rugby log this season and has shown a gathering maturity as the pressure has mounted in that competition.

Du Plessis has been one of Meyer’s vice-captains. With Matfield now 37 and still in doubt for next year’s World Cup, it may well be the time to blood the younger man.

It is an opportunity as the World?XV is unlikely to risk life and limb and the Welsh and Scottish line-ups also look quite depleted.

Others with experience of captaincy are, of course, Francois Louw and Fourie du Preez, but it is highly unlikely Meyer would hand the armband to players committed to overseas clubs.

Another candidate could well be Duane Vermeulen, who took over the captaincy of the Stormers in the absence of De Villiers and Schalk Burger. But it seems likely that Meyer will opt for his old Bulls blueprint, with Matfield leading the side out and Fourie du Preez orchestrating the tactical manoeuvres.

Aside from injured players De Villiers, Eben Jansen and Jaque Fourie, Meyer unsurprisingly stayed with the core of the side who completed a successful overseas tour with an emphatic win over France last year when he named his 36-man squad yesterday.

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