New captain for Boks?

2013-06-04 07:45
Heyneke Meyer (Gallo)
Durban - The Springboks could face Italy with a new captain in a Test match at Kings Park on Saturday.

Bok captain Jean de Villiers did not train on Monday. He is struggling with a mild hamstring strain that he picked up in the Stormers clash against the Kings at Newlands last weekend.

According to team doctor, Craig Roberts, a decision on De Villiers's availability will be taken later in the week.

GALLERY: Springbok rugby fans

Stormers centre Juan de Jongh (finger) will not be able to play this week, while Bulls centre JJ Engelbrecht is nursing a knock to his thigh.

If De Villiers does not recover in time, Bok coach, Heyneke Meyer, could be forced to field a rookie centre pairing in Jan Serfontein and JJ Engelbrecht. Cheetahs centre Robert Ebersohn was called into the squad on Monday as midfield cover and could also be considered.

Meyer however believes he has enough options to choose from if De Villiers is unable to lead the Boks against the Italians.

"Jean has really been awesome and I have been impressed with him as captain. He has played a lot of rugby this year. He is a fighter and I know he would really like to play, but we also don't want to risk him unneccessarily at this stage of the season," Meyer said at the Bok hotel in Umhlanga on Tuesday.

"There are enough leaders in the side like Francois Louw who has been captaining Bath. I have been really impressed with his leadership. Then there is Pierre (Spies), captain of the Bulls, who has been playing great rugby.

"Adriaan Strauss who is also the Bok vice-captain, has been leading the Cheetahs from the front and then there is a guy like Bismarck (du Plessis) who can also lead the team."

When asked about the possibility of facing Italy with a new captain and rookie midfield combination he said: "I don't think it is the ideal situation because we have a lot of respect for Italy and you would like to have your captain on the field.

"They (Italy) are a much improved side. Test match rugby is different to Super Rugby. There is much more pressure.

"The plan was always going to be to bring in young players so that they can get used to the game plan. I got confidence in the youngsters and if they play, I am sure they will be good enough. You can only get experience by playing," he added.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Who do you think should be Springbok captain if Jean de Villiers doesn't recover in time? Send your thoughts to Sport24

Read more on:    springboks  |  jean de villiers  |  rugby

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