Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Victor Matfield is the likely captaincy replacement for Jean de Villiers at the Rugby World Cup. The 38-year-old lock filled the role in De Villiers' injury absence in the build-up to the tournament, and he is no stranger to leadership.
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The decision to appoint Matfield makes a lot of sense. Before the Samoa game there were many calling for his exclusion to accommodate a Lood de Jager/Eben Etzebeth partnership in the second row. But he was immense in the lineout for the Boks on Saturday and if he can keep that up throughout the tournament then there will be no reason to go forward without him.
Burger captained the Boks against the All Blacks in July in the absence of both De Villiers and Matfield. His inspirational qualities make him a natural leader, and that combined with his pedigree has earned him the respect of his peers. There could certainly be worse captains than Burger, but for now it's probably best that he focuses on destroying whatever is in front of him.
Vermeulen has captaincy experience at Super Rugby level, and he led the Stormers to the top of the South African conference last season. He is a big player for the Springboks and will surely be ever-present as long as he is fit. The No. 8 is an accomplished leader, and will certainly become a contender for the captaincy after the World Cup once Matfield has hung up his boots.
FOURIE DU PREEZ
The Boks have looked a far better side with Du Preez on the field. The scrumhalf brings an energy to proceedings that was not quite there with Ruan Pienaar at the base of the ruck. And, having made his debut in 2004 and with a World Cup medal to his name, Du Preez could have a lot to offer experience-wise.