Respected former referee Nigel Owens has named the all-time standout skippers he officiated, which includes just one Springbok and two former World Player of the Year winners.
Selecting his best of those to have led their country for Ruck.co.uk, Owens’ six-man list also includes a two-time World Cup winner and two former British & Irish Lions captains.
Jean de Villiers became the 54th Bok captain to lead his country against England in 2012, and was named the SA Rugby Player of the Year in 2008 and 2013.
De Villiers, who is also the Boks’ fourth all-time leading try-scorer, was capped 109 times for the Boks and captained the team on 37 occasions, his last as captain in his third appearance at a World Cup in 2015.
Commenting on De Villiers’ inclusion, Owens said: “He was not only a great rugby player but also a great leader and a great man. Whenever I came across him on the field, he impressed me.”
Frenchman Thierry Dusautoir stands out the most for Owens, with All Blacks icon Richie McCaw, Englishman Chris Robshaw and Irishmen Paul O’Connell and Brian O’Driscoll completing the Welshman’s list.