Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - National coach Heyneke Meyer believes there are several players in the squad who can be considered as future Springbok captains.
With Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield retiring, and uncertainty regarding the international futures of Fourie du Preez and Schalk Burger, the Boks may be forced to look for a new captain in 2016.
Meyer was probed on the matter on Tuesday when he addressed journalists at OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg after arriving from London.
“It’s probably unfair to mention names, but if I have to then I think a lot of the youngsters really put up their hands... a guy like Bismarck (du Plessis) has been there, Adriaan Strauss is there. I think Duane (Vermeulen) can be a great captain, Francois Louw can be a great captain...” said Meyer.
“If you look at the younger guys - Handre Pollard has captained his country at Under-20 level, Lood (de Jager) has really come through nicely. There are a lot of guys who you can actually call on, Frans Malherbe has been a captain of (Western) Province.”
After starting the World Cup with a shock defeat to Japan, the Boks recovered to reach the semi-finals, where they lost 20-18 to eventual champions New Zealand.
They finished the event on a high by beating Argentina 24-13 in the Bronze Final and Meyer believes the experiences at the World Cup will stand the youngsters in good stead.
“There are a lot of great leaders and I think they will learn from this experience. They will be more hungry for it and if they can learn from the senior guys, and about what went wrong, then they’ll improve.
“But it’s not just the World Cup, it’s the four years before that which makes the difference. You have to put your structures and your systems in place before that.
“There are enough leaders and they’ve learnt from the best. If you look after those guys, put them on courses, give them leadership skills - like how to speak to the media - then I think we’re in good hands. There are a lot of great young leaders coming through.”