Cape Town - Schalk Burger should be named Stormers captain for the 2016 Super Rugby season, argues Herman Mostert.
The Stormers are hard at work for the upcoming season, but new coach Robbie Fleck is yet to name his leader.
Fleck last week indicated that the Stormers management have a “good idea” who the captain will be, but that they will only make the announcement in the coming weeks.
With Duane Vermeulen and Jean de Villiers now plying their trade in Europe, the Capetonians are searching for a new leader, and a glance through the current squad makes it hard to see beyond Burger donning the captain's armband.
In fact, had it not been for an untimely injury at the start of 2012, Burger may have led the Stormers in subsequent years.
Burger was named Stormers captain at the start of the 2012 season, but an horrific knee injury put paid to his season and he would eventually only return to rugby at the tail-end of 2013, having also suffered bacterial meningitis in hospital which almost cost him his life.
Burger’s prolonged absence saw De Villiers assume the helm and the midfielder would also go on to lead the Springboks.
But with De Villiers no longer part of the Stormers, Burger may just get the nod for captain in what will be his final season with the Cape side, having indicated that he will further his career at English club Saracens after this year’s Super Rugby competition.
Juan de Jongh, the Western Province Currie Cup captain, is now part of the Springbok Sevens set-up and it’s unlikely that he’ll be named captain.
There’s also scrumhalf Nic Groom, who captained WP in parts during last year’s Currie Cup, but with Springbok Jano Vermaak also in the squad, Groom is not assured of his spot in the starting XV.
Younger players like Eben Etzebeth, Scarra Ntubeni, Nizaam Carr and Siya Kolisi could be considered future captains, but at present Burger seems the best bet for the job.
Burger is still on club duty in Japan, but he will arrive well in advance of the Stormers' opening Super Rugby clash at home against the Bulls on Saturday, February 27.