By popular demand: Daniel named Sharks captain

2012-01-17 00:00

TO the surprise of no one, Keegan Daniel was yesterday named Sharks captain for the 2012 Super Rugby season.

Daniel, in the absence of Springbok captain John Smit, led the Sharks to the Currie Cup final last year. With Smit now playing his rugby for Saracens in London, Daniel will also assume the Super Rugby duties.

Coach John Plumtree has made one change to the team leadership with Springbok hooker Bismarck du Plessis yesterday appointed as the new vice-captain.

Plumtree said that the 26-year-old Daniel, a wholehearted player, would have the full backing of the squad.

“I was really impressed with Keegan during the Currie Cup last year, the way he grew as a leader in what was a difficult campaign,” Plumtree said yesterday.

“It was a campaign where we had to deal with a number of interruptions, through injury and Springboks coming back. So it was difficult to manage and I thought he did really well.

“He has the respect of all the players in the team which is obviously very important, and also for the way he plays.”

Plumtree said Daniel was a friendly and popular leader and he would continue to grow as a player and as a captain.

“I think the biggest factor — and I can’t emphasise it more — is that he has the support of all his team-mates. Ultimately, he was their choice as their leader. You can’t get a better endorsement than that from your peers.”

Plumtree has indicated that he would be following a rotation policy during the marathon season and Daniel would be rested at times.

“Keegan can’t play every game, so Bismarck du Plessis will be vice-captain. Again, it’s the same thing — a guy that leads by example.

“He’s also very astute in terms of tactics, so I am keen to have his leadership and to give him the responsibility to grow within the group as well.

“Both of these players are ultimate competitors, they are real Sharks men with a real love for this jersey and it means a lot to them.”

Plumtree said the other players would be inspired by the committed approach of both Daniel and Du Plessis.

“The majority of your leadership comes through actions and often words come second. Both these boys are right up there in that department,” said Plumtree.

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