Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said at the team announcement at Newlands on Thursday that Carr will be just be in charge for Saturday’s clash at Newlands (4pm kickoff), but that the leadership for the season will be decided upon in a few days’ time.
Fleck added that he had waited for his overseas contingent of Schalk Burger and Eben Etzebeth to return from Japan, as well as Juan de Jongh from the Springbok Sevens, before picking a captain.
Burger and De Jongh are strong candidates for the captain’s armband, along with tighthead prop Frans Malherbe, while other Springboks such as Carr, Etzebeth and Siya Kolisi will also likely to form part of the leadership group for the season.
While Carr will lead out a strong combination against Argentine side Jaguares on Saturday, Malherbe and Kolisi won’t play due to slight ankle issues, but they will both return to training next week.
Burger – who has a slight calf injury – and Etzebeth are being given extra time off after coming back from Japan as recently as last week, while the same proviso applies to Blitzboks Cheslin Kolbe and De Jongh, who landed in South Africa on Monday from last week’s Sydney Sevens.
Of course, Bok inside centre Damian de Allende is a long-term casualty with an ankle problem, and is only expected back at the end of April.
Bok wing Cornal Hendricks has been diagnosed with a heart condition, and Fleck said that he is not available to the Stormers at the moment. “He is with SA Rugby, and I don’t know when he will be back,” was all Fleck was prepared to say on Thursday.
But another new signing in Springbok lock Pieter-Steph du Toit will start against the Jaguares, in partnership with Jean Kleyn in the second row. Du Toit has had a long history of injuries at the Sharks and Boks, but Fleck said that he is in good shape at the moment.
“Pieter-Steph has done really well for us. He is over all his injuries, and going to the World Cup was good for him as he got to play at a high level again after all the injuries,” Fleck said. “He has been very good in our practice matches, and now he gets a chance to show what he can do against a very strong Jaguares side who have several Test players in their team.”
With Kolbe being rested, Dillyn Leyds gets an opportunity to prove his worth at fullback, with Fleck saying that he is an exciting runner. “Dillyn has played wing for us in the past, but we want him to get involved with the play. Like Cheslin, he is dangerous out wide, but we also looked at Dillyn as a possible flyhalf over the pre-season, so there’s no reason why he can’t come in at first receiver as well and make an impact,” the coach said.
“He will have more space to work with and be able to scan the field from the back, so he could be really effective in that role.”
Saturday’s game kicks off at 4pm, and tickets cost R50 across the board, with season tickets not valid. The match will not be televised.
15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr (captain), 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble. Bench: Scarra Ntubeni, Mikey Willemse, JC Janse van Rensburg, JP Smith, Alistair Vermaak, Jan de Klerk, JD Schickerling, Rikus Bothma, Jurie van Vuuren, Nic Groom, Godlen Masimla, Louis Schreuder, Kurt Coleman, Brandon Thomson, Ryan Oosthuizen, Khanyo Ngcukana.
Original source: Carr to captain Stormers against Jagaures