Bok captaincy: Just an interim job

Mon, 26 May 2014 20:28
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Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was giving little away, other than to confirm his new captain will just be an 'interim' appointment.

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer was giving little away, other than to confirm his new captain will just be an 'interim' appointment.

Regular Bok skipper Jean de Villiers will miss the June Tests - against a World XV, Wales (twice) and Scotland - with a knee complaint that will sideline him for about two months.

He will "hopefully" be back for the start of Rugby Championship in August.

Describing the loss of his captain as "a massive setback", the Bok mentor added that they will miss him next month.

Meyer, addressing a media contingent at the team's training base in Durban, confirmed that he has not made a final call on who will replace De Villiers as Bok skipper when South Africa start their 2014 campaign against a World XV in Cape Town on June 7.

The only facts that Meyer revealed was that the captain will be appointed for all four June internationals, but not beyond.

"I don't want to change too much," Meyer said.

"Jean [de Villiers] will be back and he will be my captain for the rest of the year," Meyer said, adding that De Villiers knows he will continue to lead the team once he is fit again.

Meyer spoke about the "culture" created with De Villiers as the skipper and said there is no need to go in the different direction.

"He is not out for long so it won't be a long-term captaincy appointment," the Bok coach said, adding that he is considering a few factors before naming his captain for next month's Tests.

Meyer was happy with the quality of the leaders in the squad and felt that the stand-in captain would come from a group that include Bismarck du Plessis, Adriaan Strauss, Victor Matfield, Francois Louw, Schalk Burger and Duane Vermeulen.

"When I first took over as coach there was a lot of inexperience, many youngsters and a lot of guys that hadn't been leading their provinces," Meyer said after training.

"Suddenly you have plenty like Bismarck (du Plessis) and Adriaan (Strauss), especially Bismarck now at the Sharks.

"You've got Victor, whose captained for 16 or 17 Test matches, Francois Louw has always impressed me as a captain, it's a shame he's not here because I think he's an awesome captain.

"He's shown that at Bath.

"Schalk (Burger) is back as captain and he's always been a great captain and I was really impressed with Duane Vermeulen at the Stormers lately, so suddenly there's probably seven or eight players that can captain."

Matfield returned to the sport at the start of the 2014 season, two years after retiring, and has since been consistent for the Bulls in Super Rugby.

"Victor's influence at the line-outs has been amazing," the coach said.

"It's almost like having a second coach on the field.

"He's world class in line outs and just looks like he's in slow motion, so I'm really happy to see him again."

Meyer had no doubt that any of the players on his short-list would be capable of leading the team, but said he wanted to consult with everyone within his squad before making a call.

"The names I've mentioned now, I believe every single one of them can do a great job," he said.

"They know exactly how I want to play, so it will probably be an easy job."