Burger takes Stormers reins back

Wed, 16 Jan 2013 11:02
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Fit-again Springbok flank Schalk Burger has been confirmed as Stormers captain for 2013, taking the reins from Bok skipper Jean de Villers.

Fit-again Springbok flank Schalk Burger has been confirmed as Stormers captain for 2013, taking the reins from Bok skipper Jean de Villers.

Burger was the designated Stormers captain last year but his 2012 campaign lasted just 14 minutes before suffering a season-ending knee injury against the Hurricanes in Round One.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee also confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that centre De Villiers would continue as the team's vice-captain.

Coetzee said: "Now that he is fit, Schalk will resume the Stormers captaincy in 2013.

"We are, however, blessed with an incredibly strong leadership base in every position. Schalk will have the Springbok captain in Jean de Villiers to lean on, a Currie Cup-winning captain in Deon Fourie and I haven't even mentioned the likes of Andries Bekker, Tiaan Liebenberg, Duane Vermeulen, Dewaldt Duvenage and Bryan Habana - all of whom are leaders in their positions."

Coetzee explained that it is a relief to have so much experience to draw on as his side look to improve on their home semifinal appearnaces in the last two years.

"It is good to know that leadership is not a crisis anymore like it used to be. It is one of the processes that we tried to build on and now we are in a good position that we do have those leaders.

"It is not just about knowing the game, it is about off-the-field issues as well.

"Issues like dealing with the refs, in the heat of the moment it is tough and you expect your leaders to say the right things and come across well," he said.

The Stormers boss does not see De Villiers' role with the Springboks as an issue and pointed to the Sharks as an example where the Bok captain did not lead his Super Rugby side.

"Jean is still going to play his role and his part with Schalk. It is not the first time that you have a national captain not captaining his franchise. I think John Smit is a case in point with the Sharks when Johann Muller and Stefan Terblanche captained the franchise and he led the national team.

"I think with our dynamics it suits us and it is where we want to go. The way they compliment each other, like at the start last year and then Jean showed what he can do." he said.

The squad has been in Hermanus since Monday and the coach expressed his delight at the work done so far.

"We've upped the rugby-specific side of things this week, but we're also having a bit of fun and the guys have responded really well," said Coetzee.

"We've still got two days to go after this, including a fun adventure race on Friday, and then we will turn our attention to next month's warm-up matches."

The Stormers will face the Cheetahs on February 2 (in Bloemfontein) and the Boland Cavaliers on February 9 (in Wellington).

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