Schalk Burger has been appointed interim captain for the Stormers' two-match tour of Australia.
Burger's temporary captaincy follows the announcement that regular co-captains Juan de Jongh and Frans Malberbe will not be available for selection for the Stormers' matches against the Rebels and Force.
De Jongh and fullback Cheslin Kolbe are in camp with the Blitzboks squad, while Malherbe sustained a neck injury on Springbok duty. The injury will see Malberbe sidelined for two to three weeks, and coach Robbie Fleck has called up young tighthead prop Wilco Louw in his place.
'Schalk Burger is one of the most experienced players in South African rugby, and he is certainly no stranger to the captaincy role, so we will draw on his leadership abilities as much as we can,' Fleck said before the team's departure.
Fit-again Jean Kleyn (lock), JP Smith (prop), Jaco Taute (utility back) and Scott van Breda (utility back) all join the touring group for the first time this season, while Fleck also picked all his other returning Springboks.
'This is obviously a crucial tour for us, and the players know that we are in for two challenging matches in Australia. With our international players only joining us this week, we have had to travel later than we usually would, but the benefit of that is that we are travelling together as a united group,' he said.
'There are some new faces in the squad, and it is a great opportunity for them to experience a tour with the Stormers for the first time. We have to gain some momentum in this final phase of the competition to keep our destiny in our own hands.'
Stormers touring squad – Schalk Burger (c), Nizaam Carr, Damian de Allende, Daniel du Plessis, Jean-Luc du Plessis, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Rynhardt Elstadt, Nic Groom, Huw Jones, Oli Kebble, Jean Kleyn, Vincent Koch, Siya Kolisi, Wilco Louw, Bongi Mbonambi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Scarra Ntubeni, JD Schickerling, Louis Schreuder, JP Smith, Jaco Taute, Brandon Thomson, Scott van Breda, Kobus van Wyk, Alistair Vermaak, Leolin Zas.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo images