DURBAN — Stormers captain Jean de Villiers has been chosen to succeed John Smit as Springbok rugby skipper in the series against England.
National coach Heyneke Meyer ended months of speculation on Monday when he confirmed at a Press conference in Umhlanga Rocks that De Villiers, who made his debut for South Africa a decade ago, will lead the side.
De Villiers became the favourite when it was learned the initial choice, Fourie du Preez, had made an about-turn on an earlier decision to be available for the Boks.
“It was something that I had to think long and hard about as I have always chosen my captains in the pack. In my view it is easier to lead by example from among the forwards,” said Meyer.
“However, Jean gave me reason to break with my usual approach. He has impressed me for a long time as a leader and as a human being and I believe that he is a player others look up to and will follow. He is a player with a lot of integrity and has huge respect from his peers and I have full confidence in him.
“He has been in my mind as a possible captain for quite a while now and there were no outside influences that played a role in my choice. I informed Jean at 11pm last night he would be my captain. The good thing about choosing Jean is that every single one of my management members also thought it was a good choice and there was no-one who was against it.”