Meyer announces Springbok captain

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Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer (foreground) surprised rugby fans and critics with his selection of players for the upcoming series against England - but the youngbloods and their captain are keen to impress.

Durban - Jean de Villiers will captain South Africa in their home series against England, coach Heyneke Meyer announced on Monday.

Centre De Villiers, who has 72 caps, has been appointed skipper only for the three-Test clash with England which starts on Saturday in Durban.

“I have a lot of belief and faith in Jean. He has a lot of integrity, a great work ethic and has the hearts of the players,” Meyer told a news conference.

“He has impressed me with the way he has led a young side in the (Super Rugby franchise) Stormers. I am happy he accepted the captaincy because it is such a big responsibility,” Meyer added.

De Villiers was part of the squad which won the 2007 World Cup but he was injured in South Africa's opening game of the tournament and played no part in the final.

He said being made Springbok captain had made him feel like a youngster just coming into test rugby.

“I made my debut 10 years ago and I feel like a 21-year-old old winning my first cap. It is probably the highlight of my career.

“This job comes with massive pressure. I have had the privilege to play under some great captains. I made my debut under Corner Krige while I also played under John Smit and Victor Matfield.

“You take what you can learn from those guys and put your own personal touch to it,” he added.

England coach Stuart Lancaster played down suggestions the Springboks would be underprepared for the series.

South Africa's squad joined up on Sunday after having been involved in Super Rugby action over the weekend, giving Meyer little time to prepare.

“The Springboks have obviously had limited preparation but equally they have a core of players who have played together, not only in the 2011 World Cup, but prior to that as well,” Lancaster told reporters.

“That core of players, I'm sure, will be taking to the field on Saturday. While they have had limited preparation time with their new coach there will be a common understanding and philosophy that they will be able to play to.

“Irrespective of their preparation time they are going to be a difficult proposition,” added Lancaster.

The second test is in Johannesburg on June 16 with the tour wrapping up in Port Elizabeth on June 23. - Reuters


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