Meyer mulls over Bok captaincy

Jean de Villiers and Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
Jean de Villiers and Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Jean de Villiers' replacement as the Springbok captain will be only be named on Monday as Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer still needs time to mull over the matter.

The Stormers skipper, who captained the Boks since June 2012 has been laid low by a knee injury which has ruled him out of the World XV and Incoming Series matches this month.

He is expected to be fit again by the time the Rugby Championship gets under way in mid-August.

De Villiers paid a visit to the team's base at a Cape Town hotel and was seen in deep conversation with Bok coach Heyneke Meyer on Sunday afternoon.

The captain will be a stand-in for De Villiers and will take charge for the upcoming four matches on successive weekends, starting with the Newlands fixture against Nick Mallett's XV on Saturday.

"I have a player in mind but I don't want to make a hasty decision," said Meyer, at the team's base at a Cape Town hotel on Sunday.

"I'll tell you tomorrow (Monday) about the captaincy. I need to consult with the right people first."

There are seven uncapped players in 36-man squad which is presently assembled in Cape Town and Meyer thinks at least two will be making their debuts (on Saturday).

"I can tell you that I am thinking that two players will be making their debuts," said Meyer.

"You don't want to throw (new) guys in at the deep end and I'd rather have them coming off the bench."

Meyer said he was concerned about the workload for newcomers and did not like choosing new caps.

"I don't like to give new caps (an opportunity)," said Meyer.

"There are a lot of moves, calls and you don't want to overload new caps with game plans.
"I'm happy with the guys that are here and I don't want to change (the squad for now). I want to send out a strong message (of loyalty) to the players."

Every weekend of Super Rugby has produced its fair share on injuries and since four South African teams were in action over the weekend, Meyer was eagerly awaiting medical reports.

"I'll only know this evening (late Sunday) if there are injuries because the (Bok) medical team will be screening the players," said Meyer.

"Some (overseas) players are only arriving on Tuesday."

One of the new caps that is likely to get Meyer's nod is Stormers centre Damian de Allende. However, his Bok dream may be shattered for now as he was forced to leave the field in Durban against the Sharks on Saturday with a second-half knee injury.

On Sunday, he was unable to 'walk freely'.

Meyer described the fixture against the World XV as a "lose-lose" situation for him.

"It's a friendly and it is just that people expect the Boks to smash the World XV team," Meyer explained.

"I'm in a lose-lose situation and they (World XV) have nothing to lose. We don't want to play Barbarian-type rugby because we would look at certain combinations.

"It's a chance for guys to get game time under their belts."
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