Two midfielders, a hooker and two loose forwards. All Springboks. All with vast Vodacom Super Rugby experience.
They are, of course, the five men who will lead their various franchises onto the field when the Vodacom Super Rugby competition returns to South African shores on Friday 22 February 22.
First unto the field will be incumbent Springbok captain, Jean de Villiers, who will lead the DHL Stormers onto Loftus Versfeld. The popular player is not the Stormers captain for the season though, as captain-elect, Schalk Burger is injured still, but De Villiers lead the Cape side with great aplomb last season, when they ended up as conference winners.
De Villiers made his debut in 2005, playing against The Sharks and will play in his 83rd Super Rugby match.
Pierre Spies will follow shortly, leading the Vodacom Bulls onto the field with the sound of Steve Hofmeyr’s “Die Blou Bul” song ringing in his ears.
Spies is in his second season as captain and after a finger injury kept him out of rugby since August last year, will be bursting at the seams to give it a bash. He started his Super Rugby career as a wing, also in 2005, but soon after moved to the loose forwards. Friday’s match will be his 90th.
On Saturday two former pupils of the great rugby school Grey College in Bloemfontein, will lead their teams onto the field, not far from where they were schooled a couple of years back.
Midfielder Frans Steyn will captain The Sharks in the absence of injured Keegan Daniel and will do so for the first time in his Super Rugby career. The versatile Springbok, who has 40 Super Rugby caps to his name, matriculated in 2005.
Adriaan Strauss has been leading the Toyota Cheetahs for the last two seasons and is making a good fist of it. In fact, he was also named as Springbok vice-captain in 2012 due to his leadership abilities. He started his Super Rugby career at the Vodacom Bulls, where he played eight times, but has since played 64 times for the Cheetahs.
Last but not least will be Southern Kings captain Luke Watson. The former Sharks and Stormers player is back on home soil after a stint in Bath and will lead the Kings onto the field for the very first time, as the team will make their debut in the competition.
Watson has played 10 Tests and 82 Super Rugby matches and this experience could prove decisive for the Kings who will be up against it from the start.
Five teams, five great captains. Let’s go!