at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
First Victor Matfield was to come out of retirement to captain the Springboks against England in June. Then it was Fourie du Preez who would come back from Japan to lead the team. And, since then, several other names have been mentioned as potential captains of the Boks.
Does Heyneke Meyer actually know who will lead the side?
If he does, then it’s the best-kept secret in South African rugby.
It’s strange how the captaincy of the national rugby team produces so much debate and discussion. It doesn’t happen in football and in cricket it’s not nearly as hot a topic of talk around the braai. But in rugby, it’s something that divides people… with just about everyone having a different opinion.
Those up north will always back a player from the Bulls or Lions and those down south will always believe their Western Province man is the best candidate. Somewhere in between, the Sharks and Cheetahs fans will have their favourites too.
Matfield’s name has gone off the radar, but is that just to keep the doubters quiet? Du Preez’s name has not been mentioned by Meyer at all in recent weeks. The names that have come up are those of Adriaan Strauss and Jean de Villiers – following the planning camps held in Pretoria and Cape Town. Was Meyer just keeping the local press happy or was he genuinely implying they may be in the running?
And what about Bismarck du Plessis, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Andries Bekker and possibly even Joshua Strauss, all players who’ve been mentioned as possible captains? Do they have a chance or are they just being used to deflect attention away from Matfield or Du Preez making a return?
It’s all very interesting talk at the moment. Meyer has also changed his tune from wanting to pick the strongest and most experienced team to suggesting the Bok side to take on England could be made up of less experienced campaigners.
But what intrigues me the most is that in all the talk about the captaincy the one name that hasn’t been mentioned too much is that of Pierre Spies. The Bulls man would have been chosen by Frans Ludeke in conjunction with Meyer – when he was still involved with the Bulls in the latter stages of last year – yet he isn’t among the contenders. Or is he?
Meyer must rate Spies to some degree and if he stays fit don’t be surprised to see him leading the Boks out against England. He’s a man with integrity and strong beliefs – exactly what Meyer is after. The only thing is, is Spies good enough to hold down his place at No 8?