De Villiers named captain

Veteran centre to lead Springboks in Test series with England

Last Updated: 04/06/12 1:09pm

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Jean de Villiers: Has been made captain for the three-Test series with England

Jean de Villiers: Has been made captain for the three-Test series with England

Sky Bet

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer has appointed experienced centre Jean de Villiers as the Springboks' captain for the upcoming three-Test series against England.

The 31-year-old, who has won 72 caps for his country, has been given the role until the end of the England series, which begins with the first Test in Durban on Saturday.

The Stormers player succeeds the now-retired John Smit after being picked ahead of the other main candidate for the role - Pierre Spies of Meyer's former club Blue Bulls.

New coach Meyer, who named a 32-man squad at the weekend, will review the position at the end of the series with two other potential captains, Schalk Burger and Juan Smith, currently out injured.

"Jean's leadership qualities are well established and he has always impressed me with his leadership on and off the field," Meyer said.

Impressed

"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, a 10-year veteran of Test rugby, is the second-most experienced player in the Springboks squad behind 74-cap Bryan Habana.

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

"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."

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