Who will skipper the Stormers?

Date published: January 13 2015

The Stormers will unveil their new captain and vice-captain for the 2015 Super Rugby season on Friday at their training camp in Hermanus.

A 39-man squad will depart for Hermanus on Tuesday for a four-day training camp ahead but the group’s leader remains a mystery.

Injured Springbok captain Jean de Villiers is not an option as he will miss the entire tournament following knee surgery.

Springbok centre Juan de Jongh – who led Western Province to Currie Cup glory in 2014 – number eight Duane Vermeulen and veteran flank Schalk Burger are the leading candidates to take over.

Although Burger is the most experienced player and a natural leader, coach Allister Coetzee is likely to opt for either De Jongh or Vermeulen since Burger will not join the squad until Week Five of the competition due to his Japanese club commitments with Suntory Sungoliath.

The Stormers head to Hermanus for the fifth year in a row, ahead of their three pre-season friendlies between January 24 and February 7 against SWD, the Cheetahs and the Boland Cavaliers.

The Stormers open their 2015 Super Rugby campaign against the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday, February 14. Their first home game is against the Blues on Saturday, February 21.

Scarra Ntubeni, Eben Etzebeth, Vermeulen, Nizaam Carr and Damian de Allende – all of whom toured with the Springboks at the end of last year – will all travel to Hermanus, along with capped Springboks, Siya Kolisi, De Jongh and Jaco Taute.

Props Wilco Louw and Frans van Wyk, both of whom are still eligible for the Western Province Under-21 team, are amongst the new faces in the squad, joining fly-half Robert du Preez, centres Johnny Kotze and Huw Jones and full-back EW Viljoen as the other newbies in the selection mix.

Du Preez, Kotze, Jones and Viljoen are all graduates of the WP Under-21 set-up from 2014, along with hooker Michael Willemse, lock Jurie van Vuuren and loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe, all of whom had a brief taste of Super Rugby action in 2014.

Prop Frans Malherbe (ankle) and locks Jean Kleyn (AC Joint) and Ruan Botha (ankle) are the only players not training flat-out at the moment. However, all three are on track with their rehabilitation from injuries suffered last year.