De Villiers to lead Stormers
De Villiers to lead StormersSHARE
Senior Springboks Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger will head up the Stormers' leadership group in the 2014 Super Rugby season.
De Villiers, who has led the Springboks with such success in 2012 and 2013, will again captain the Stormers this season, whilst Burger, back to full health and fitness, will serve as his vice-captain.
Between them, De Villiers (96) and Burger (88) boast over 180 games of Super Rugby experience, along with a combined tally of 164 Springbok appearances, De Villiers on 96 caps for his country and Burger on 68.
"Jean and Schalk are both top-class rugby players and leaders, who also happen to be very close friends – dating back to their school days," Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said.
"But, most importantly, Jean and Schalk understand the Stormers culture well. That's important for us, as coaches; they believe in our philosophy and what we're trying to achieve with this squad."
The Stormers kick-off their 2014 Super Rugby campaign against the Lions on Saturday, February 22, before facing the Hurricanes at home – at Newlands – the following Friday (February 28).
Thereafter, the Stormers head abroad for a tough four-match tour of Australasia which will see them take on the Crusaders, the Chiefs, the Brumbies and the Reds on successive weekends in March – all of which requires a strong leadership group.
"We are very blessed at Western Province Rugby to boast leaders like Jean and Schalk – not to mention other leaders within the playing group like Deon Fourie, Duane Vermeulen and Gio Aplon.
"However, having Jean and Schalk as captain and vice-captain, respectively, is the best of both worlds for us," explained the Stormers boss.
"It's important for us to manage them both properly," added Coetzee. "Schalk only recently made his return to top level rugby, after a long period out, whilst Jean – after leading his country with plenty of success in 2012 and 2013 – will be a key figure for the Springboks in the lead-up to the 2015 World Cup.
"Having Jean as captain and Schalk as his deputy will allow us to manage both players and, also, get the best out of them in the process."