Meyer reveals captains picks

2014-05-26 22:55
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)

Durban - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer has revealed on Monday that veteran lock Victor Matfield is among "seven or eight" players being considered for the captaincy

With regular skipper Jean de Villiers ruled out for eight weeks due to a knee injury over the weekend, the position of the armband was a key discussion point when the South Africa coach spoke to the media in Durban, during a three-day national training camp.

"When I first took over as coach there was a lot of inexperience, many youngsters and a lot of guys that hadn't been leading their provinces," Meyer said after training.

"Suddenly you have plenty like Bismarck (du Plessis) and Adriaan (Strauss), especially Bismarck now at the Sharks.

"You've got Victor, whose captained for 16 or 17 Test matches, Francois Louw has always impressed me as a captain, it's a shame he's not here because I think he's an awesome captain.

"He's shown that at Bath.

"Schalk (Burger) is back as captain and he's always been a great captain and I was really impressed with Duane Vermeulen at the Stormers lately, so suddenly there's probably seven or eight players that can captain."

Matfield returned to the sport at the start of the 2014 season, two years after retiring, and has since been consistent for the Bulls in Super Rugby.

"Victor's influence at the line-outs has been amazing," the coach said.

"It's almost like having a second coach on the field.

"He's world class in line outs and just looks like he's in slow motion, so I'm really happy to see him again."

Meyer had no doubt that any of the players on his short-list would be capable of leading the team, but said he wanted to consult with everyone within his squad before making a call.

"The names I've mentioned now, I believe every single one of them can do a great job," he said.

"They know exactly how I want to play, so it will probably be an easy job."

South Africa play four home Tests during the early international season.

First up is a World XV on June 7, followed by two matches against Wales and a clash against Scotland.

The biggest positional worry, according to Meyer, ahead of those games was finding a suitable candidate at outside centre following a long-term injury to Jacque Fourie.

"I'm a little bit worried about 13," he said.

However, he had no such qualms about flyhalf, saying that Morné Steyn can easily slot into the position.

The veteran currently plays for Stade Francais, but has not been at his best, meaning he has failed to hold down a regular starting berth during his first season in France.

"I don't know why but 10 is always a tricky one in this country," Meyer added.

"I wish we can get to a point where the 10 can just settle and play.

"But it doesn't matter because we got Morne, it doesn't matter if he doesn't play there, I know he'll be good.

"So although there's not one guy I can say is going to be the starting 10, there's a few options there."

The Boks conclude their training camp on Wednesday.


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Debate rages! Who is the greatest ever Springbok hooker ... John Smit, Bismarck du Plessis or someone else perhaps?

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