Cape Town – Springbok Schalk Burger, capped 68 times at Test level, will lead the Stormers once again in the 2013 Super Rugby competition, the Western cape franchise has announced.
Bok captain Jean de Villiers had also been a strong candidate to lead the Stormers in the new campaign, after his excellent showing last season when Burger took an injury-enforced 'sabbatical' for the greater part of the Super Rugby season.
Burger, the designated skipper last year, picked up a knee injury just 14 minutes into their first 2012 fixture against the Hurricanes.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said on Wednesday that Burger had made a full recovery and was on track to lead the franchise in their opening match against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld next month.
“Now that he is fit, Schalk will resume the DHL Stormers captaincy in 2013,” Coetzee said.
“We are, however, blessed with an incredibly strong leadership base in every position. Schalk will have the Springbok captain in Jean de Villiers to lean on, and Absa Currie Cup-winning captain in Deon Fourie and I haven't even mentioned the likes of Andries Bekker, Tiaan Liebenberg, Duane Vermeulen, Dewaldt Duvenage and Bryan Habana, all of whom are leaders in their positions.”
A 36-man Stormers squad is in camp this week at Hermanus, the seaside resort in the Overberg region.
“We've upped the rugby-specific side of things this week, but we're also having a bit of fun and the guys have responded really well,” Coetzee said.
“We've still got two days to go after this, including a fun adventure race on Friday, and then we will turn our attention to next month's warm-up matches against the Cheetahs and Boland.”
On the injury front, lock Andries Bekker has made a splendid recovery from a back injury, which sidelined him near the end of last season, and the Stormers confirmed he would be available to run out against the Bulls. – Sapa