Smit backs Burger for Bok captaincy

John Smit says Schalk Burger should be the next Springbok captain.

Smit, who led the Boks in 83 Tests, said discussions about his successor date back to 2008. Smit, now with Saracens, claimed Burger ticked all the boxes to fill the void left after his retirement from Test rugby.

‘There might be a young player who performs well and is awarded the captaincy, but my money is on Schalk,’ Smit, speaking at the official opening of the Saracens Field of Dreams in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch, said.

‘He has the most experience and is the one who commands the most respect among the Boks. It will be the smoothest transition.He is a hard worker, tough as nails and he understands people.’

Keo.co.za understands that former Springbok forward coach Gert Smal is favourite to be named head coach. In this event, there is a strong possibility that Burger will be named captain. Smal coached the flanker with Western Province and the Stormers and has regularly spoken of his admiration for him as a player and leader.

The decision on the coach will be announced on 27 January, but Smit refused to be drawn on the issue. ‘I’m sure the decision has been made already,’ he said. ‘The South African Rugby Union [Saru] were smart in not making the announcement yet as they have been criticised for impulsive decisions in the past.’

He did, however, offer that the vision of the next man in charge would be decisive in the appointment of the captain. ‘It depends on the sort of leader he wants,’ Smit said. ‘He may want to do something different with the Boks.’