Rugby Championship
Schalk Burger to lead South Africa against All Blacks
ESPN Staff
July 21, 2015
Schalk Burger
Schalk Burger© (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)

Schalk Burger will become the 55th South Africa captain on Saturday when he leads out the Springboks against New Zealand.

South Africa will be without injured duo Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield in Johannesburg and Springboks coach Heyneke Meyer has no doubt Burger has the qualities to step up.

Matfield led the team out in Australia last weekend, but was forced off with a hamstring strain, allowing the experienced back-row to be named interim skipper. 

"Schalk has been a magnificent servant of Springbok rugby and he fully deserves this responsibility," said Meyer on Tuesday.

"The resilience he's shown in coming back from serious injury and illness is the kind of qualities I look for in players as well as teams I coach.

"In my eyes, the captaincy is very important and something I never take lightly or want to cheapen. Schalk's character and the fact that he has been a role model for so many through the years made this an easy decision.

"He's always led through example and has distinguished himself as one of the best leaders in South African rugby in the last decade. I'm very excited to see what he can bring in the absence of Jean and Victor."

Burger will become the 10th most-capped Springbok on Saturday, when he makes his 77th appearance, and spoke of his pride at his elevation to captain.

"I'm a very proud man today, but at the same time I'm humbled by the faith the coach has shown in me," said Burger.

"Ever since I first put on the Springbok jersey, my dream has been to represent my country with distinction and to make South Africans proud. It's still sinking in that I will actually captain the Boks.

"This is an honour that is bestowed upon only a select few people and I will do whatever is needed for the team. With this position comes massive responsibility and I'm very excited for Saturday."

© ESPN Staff

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