Cape Town - Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett says Duane Vermeulen should be the Springbok captain at this year's Rugby World Cup if Jean de Villiers fails to recover in time.
De Villiers, the current Springbok leader, is in a race against time to be fit for the September 18-October 31 event.
De Villiers suffered an horrific knee injury in South Africa's final Test year - against Wales in Cardiff - and it remains uncertain if he'll recover sufficiently for the tournament in England and Wales.
"Duane should lead the Springboks at the World Cup if Jean de Villiers is not ready," Mallett told Netwerk24.
"Time is running out for Jean before the World Cup. It's just logical that we start looking at other candidates."
Mallett said it's important that the captain has a good relationship with coach Heyneke Meyer.
"The captain and coach need to respect each other and be able to work together efficiently. I think that's the case with Vermeulen and Meyer. I also think the captain needs to be assured of his place in the team and be respected by the other players."