Cape Town - Stormers coach Robbie Fleck says the decision to appoint Steven Kitshoff as captain for Friday's Super Rugby clash against the Rebels in Melbourne was an obvious one.
The 27-year-old Springbok loosehead prop was given the responsibility by Fleck on Wednesday when the Stormers' side was announced for what is the last match of their Australasian tour.
With regular captain Siya Kolisi being rested and all of Pieter-Steph du Toit (for the birth of his baby), Eben Etzebeth (calf) and Chris van Zyl (hip) having already returned to South Africa, the Capetonians were facing a leadership crisis ahead of the Rebels clash.
Fleck, though, explained on Wednesday that Kitshoff had been a part of the Stormers leadership group for a long time.
"Steven has been part of our leadership group since he returned from France (in 2017)," Fleck said.
"Much like Pieter-Steph, he is a very quiet leader who leads by example in the way he trains and plays.
"He is a very well respected player in the group and when he speaks, he speaks confidently and the players and management listen. It was an obvious choice for us."
The task at hand for the Stormers this week is immense given the inexperienced nature of their pack, but that is exactly part of the reason that Fleck has backed Kitshoff to rally the troops.
"He has grown so much since he has come back from France and it's something he has been keen on. When he came back he spoke to me about taking on more of a leadership role and week in and week out he delivers on and off the field in that regard," Fleck said.
"With the amount of young, inexperienced players we have this week it is important that Steven has a rapport with them and he does," said Fleck.
"He's respected all-round, amongst the youngsters and the senior guys as well."
Kick-off on Friday is at 11:45 (SA time).
15 Reece Hodge, 14 Semisi Tupou, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Luke Jones, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Tetera Faulkner
Substitutes: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Matt Gibbon, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Esei Ha’angana, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Richard Hardwick, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Campbell Magnay
15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Cobus Wiese, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain)
Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Johan du Toit, 20 Juarno Augustus, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Josh Stander, 23 Seabelo Senatla