Jean to retain Bok captaincy
Jean to retain Bok captaincySHARE
South Africa captain Jean de Villiers will stay on as Springbok skipper after leading the team to an unbeaten end-of-year tour of Europe.
Coach Heyneke Meyer told media upon the team’s arrival in Johannesburg on Monday that the veteran centre will retain the captaincy after he had initially only appointed De Villiers as skipper for the 2012 season.
"I think he was a great ambassador for his country, especially off-field as well," said Meyer.
"I thought he was an awesome captain and there's no reason why he shouldn't be the captain going forward for the next year."
The Springboks won just seven of their 12 Tests this season, however, under De Villiers' leadership the team recorded a series win over England, achieved their first northern hemisphere clean sweep since 2008 and improved from fourth to second place on the IRB World Rankings.
"We wanted to secure the number two spot in the world and with a lot of luck and a lot of commitment we've secured that," said Meyer.
De Villiers’ Stormers team mate Schalk Burger was the favourite to succeed John Smit as Springbok captain following the latter’s retirement from Test rugby after the 2011 World Cup.
However, Burger suffered a knee injury in the Cape side’s Super Rugby opener against the Hurricanes at Newlands that ruled him out for the remainder of the year.
Meyer was also unsuccessful in luring Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez out of retirement and Japan respectively to assume the captaincy, which led to De Villiers’ appointment.