Jean de Villiers named Bok captain


Jean de Villiers will become the 54th Springbok captain after he was named to lead the Boks in the Castle Incoming Tour against England, which starts on Saturday.

SA Rugby

The announcement was made on Monday in Durban, where the Springboks are preparing to face England at Mr Price Kings Park this weekend, in the first of three Tests.

The 31-year-old De Villiers, who was named the South African Rugby Player of the Year in 2008, has played in 72 Tests for the Boks. He made his debut in 2002 against France and is the second most experienced member of the current Springbok squad, with two fewer caps than Bryan Habana.

De Villiers is also the 10th most-capped Springbok of all time and only the fourth Springbok Test captain since 2003. John Smit, Victor Matfield and Johann Muller have led the Boks during this time.

“Jean’s leadership qualities are well established and he has always impressed me with his leadership on and off the field,” said Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer.

“I’ve also been impressed by the way he’s led a young and inexperienced DHL Stormers team in Vodacom Super Rugby this year.

“Jean commands respect from everyone in South African rugby and in the short space of time we’ve worked together, Jean has shown that he understands what we want to achieve on the field. He will be surrounded by a core of strong leaders in the squad and we have the utmost faith in them.”

De Villiers said he was humbled by the trust that was placed in him by Meyer and the Springbok management.

“My heart was in my throat when Heyneke told me about his decision on Sunday evening,” said De Villiers.

“This is an honour that is not bestowed upon many people and I really hope I can do my country proud. I do realise there is massive responsibility that comes with this position. The real, hard work only starts now.”

The Springbok captaincy will be reviewed before the start of the Castle Rugby Championship.

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  1. Reply to Kat @ 2:09 pm:

    Rob Louw het vanoggend sy mond uitgespoel
    in die Cape Times: Aplon, De Jongh, Kolisi.
    En spelers wat nie vorm het nie omdat hulle
    te min gespeel het.

  2. Reply to Boertjie @ 1:44 pm:

    Now THAT is a snotting of note!

    Ek dink die hele land het eintlik gehoop vir Andries Strauss.

    Ek wonder waar’s bekke nou?

    Ek dink Heyneke het Jean De Villiers gekies net om Bekke rustig te laat wees.

    Maar nou gaan Sheilds eers die bliksem en dikbek in wees.

  3. I’d been thinking of posting on an interesting topic for some time, but wanted to see who HM made his captain. He has just reafffirmed my views, so here goes.

    The topic is: the aversion towards making a Blue Bull captain of the Boks.

    This goes back several decades and in fact there has only ever been one Northern Transvaaler/ Blue Bull who was ever an “appointed” captain, namely Naas Botha in 1992. By appointed in this context I mean appointed to the position at the start of a season or major tour.

    Sure, there have been a few Bloubulle leading the Boks, but they were all stand-in skippers when the appointed captain was injured, unavailable or temporarily dropped. Victor Matfield and Theuns Stofberg come to mind (ironically, Stofberg was later appointed Bok skipper when he moved to WP).

    Why the paucity of Blue Bull captains? Could it have been a form of reverse discrimination during the height of apartheid? Were the powers that be scared to put a conservative Afrikaner in front of the foreign press or at official functions?

    There may be some truth in this. Bok captains have tended to be English speakers, or at least Afrikaners perceived to be from more “liberal” or “verligte” environments. So a an intellectual Dawie de Villiers is preferred to a Mof Myburgh, etc. (not trying to say Myburgh should ever have been considered, just trying to make a comparison).

    Interesting thoughj this phenomenon is, what is even more interesting is the way it has persisted, a generation after the end of apartheid. I’m not going to go into the pros and cons of the Bok skippers chosen over the last 20 years, but it does seem strange that so few Bulls have been regarded as very good captaincy candidates in the modern era.

    Please understand that I’m not trying to have a go at any particular team or anything. I’m certainly no Blue Bulls fan. But it is an interesting topic and I’d be interested to hear other folks’ views.

  4. Hmmm

    It is rather an unusual situation isn’t it…

    Biltong, given that Craven started the Bulle and was one of ts first players, it would seem strange to see him.

    But think of an outstanding skipper like Thys Lourens who arguable lead Northern Transvaal in the golden era of its rugby in the seventies and into the Naas Botha era. He was everything one would have wanted from a skipper. Intelligent, leading from the front, tough as nails and never got the nod.

    However he is an exception.

    Postie my thoughts in the Heyneke and Ludeke era are that the Bulls have never placed a huge emphasis on who their skipper is but rather on “fostering” a “leadership” team on the field. This is very much in keeping with the Clive Woodward philosophy. This meant that for the Bulls Matfield was in charge at lineouts and mauls, FDP in charge of calling attacking plays, Habana and Olivier organized the backline, Bakkies forwards defence… as an example Matfield himself is on record saying that having Bakkies Botha was invariably a “calming effect” on the Bulls precisely because he came over as such a cool collected character.

    Whilst what the public (especially WP fans) wants is an inspirational “captain my captain” rarara cheer leading “he who blleds with me this day shall forever be my brother” lead from the front type…

    The Bulls just don’t work like that anymore.

  5. Reply to il postino @ 2:53 pm:

    I thing you’re over-analysing this…

    Spies speaks better ‘English’ than JDV… Spies IMO is not HM’s first choice when Vermeulen and Schalla are back… Victor always plays better when he doesn’t have the captaincy…

  6. Bryce

    Maybe in the ladty 20 years, sure. But in previous generations, I’m pretty sure the selectors looked for a skipper with a more “acceptable” face for the foreigners, especially on tour.

    Lourens not a good example. After his first and only series in a Bok jersey (68 Lions), he was well down the pecking order for selection for the test side. He had the misfortune of having his best years at the same time as some greats: Piet Greyling, Jan Ellis, etc.

  7. OK, these were the captains since 1949:

    19 Felix du Plessis
    20 Basil Kenyon
    21 Hennie Muller
    22 Stephen Fry
    23 Basie Viviers
    24 Salty du Rand
    25 Johan Claassen
    26 Des van Jaarsveldt
    27 Roy Dryburgh
    28 Avril Malan
    29 Abie Malan
    30 Nelie Smith
    31 Dawie de Villiers
    32 Tommy Bedford
    33 Hannes Marais
    34 Piet Greyling
    35 Morné du Plessis
    36 Theuns Stofberg
    37 Wynand Claassen
    38 Divan Serfontein
    39 Naas Botha
    40 Jannie Breedt
    41 Francois Pienaar
    42 Tiaan Strauss
    43 Adriaan Richter
    44 Gary Teichmann
    45 Corné Krige
    46 Rassie Erasmus
    47 Joost van der Westhuizen
    48 André Vos
    49 Bobby Skinstad
    50 John Smit
    51 Victor Matfield
    52 Johann Muller

    It will be a bit tiresome to look up
    their provinces, as many of them moved
    from their debut provinces.
    But I think 24, 25, 34. 37, 39, 43, 47 and 51
    were from Noord-Transvaal.

    I know for certain that most of the later
    managers in the amateur era were Broeders,
    and that goes for quite a few captains too.

    In the same period 10/33 were English speakers
    (if you add Morne du Plessis.)

    BTW this list should go to 53, but does not
    include Theo Pienaar (1921 tour, no tests)
    which I consider a mistake.

  8. One player I know that had his
    “background” hekld against him
    was Doug Hopwood (No8)
    Forever one of the greats IMO,
    together with his Vilager mate
    John Gainsford (centre).

  9. Thanks for the list Boertjie – the one name I missed on that list is Joost vd Westhuizen. He was an “appointed” captain by my definition (ie appointed for a tour or specific tournament, not as a stand-in).

    All the other Blue Bulls on that list, apart from Naas Botha, were stand-ins.

    Salty du Rand, as you know, never got to captain the Boks to NZ in 1956 after a fight with Jan Pickard in the trials. He may have done stand in duties on tour though.

    FYI, Johan Claassen played for Western Transvaal, Piet Greyling was OFS then Transvaal and Wynand Claassen was with Natal when he became the Bok skipper.

  10. These lists can be misleading, Bryce. It might have been a tour match vs some regional Scottish selection, or a World Cup game against some minnows when the big guns were rested.

  11. Reply to il postino @ 5:03 pm:

    Salty captained the Boks in the
    1st Test NZ 1956.

    This list only contains captains
    in Test matches – thus no Theo Pienaar.

    Richter captained v Romania, 1995 WC as
    Biltongbek rightly states.

  12. Beeld poll on captaincy:

    Right choice – 74%
    There are better – 18%
    Disaster – 8%

    Could be more than Smit ever had.

    Cosa must be in that last bracket.

  13. I favour a captain in the forwards and preferrably the one who who will get pinged the most. You harldy ever card the captain.
    Scrumhalf is fine but the captain should be where the action is and in South African rugby its definelty not at centre.
    The captain should always be there in the refs face, questioning the calls, cajoling, you know like Mccaw.

    What worries me the most is the game plan though. Play to our strenghts. This means no creativity kick and bash rugby with the only attacking platform been the line out.

  14. Reply to Boertjie @ 4:34 pm:

    10/33 for English speakers, I bet is much higher than their over-all percentage.

    Adding to the observations by Il Postino, what is probably also at play is that the English accent of Afrikaners grate on the ear of South Africans. Even for us Afrikaners. Having a “well spoken” captain is even more important now than in the past. For the local fans, not just the foreign press.