Currie Cup

Province Currie Cup captaincy no issue: Watson

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Western Province have made the brave but obvious call to appoint the controversial Luke Watson as their captain for upcoming Currie Cup season.

The loose forward Watson fell out of favour with South Africa’s rugby fraternity last year following his controversial comments during an address at a function in Cape Town last year.

His comments about wanting to vomit on the Springbok jersey and that Dutchmen were controlling South African rugby earned him the wrath of Newlands fans who booed and jeered him earlier this year.

But WP stood by him and supported him through tough times and even appointed him to their Super Rugby team towards the end of the season when Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger were not available.

While Watson braved the anger, his game did not appear to be affected and in the past Super Rugby season he was one of the few Stormers to excel.

On the basis of his Super 14 form he was considered to be a genuine contender for inclusion in the Springbok squad, however, he was overlooked by the national selectors.

Watson is no stranger to the captaincy job, having captained several national age-group sides in the past. In 2007 he was installed as WP’s Currie Cup captain and hence this stint will be his second at the helm of the Newlands-based outfit.

Following a string of poor performances by the Stormers earlier this year enthusiasm for rugby in the Mother City is at an all-time low and that will be reflected in the crowd attendances when Newlands host Currie Cup matches later this year.

The task of captaining WP does not hold any terrors for Watson. “I don’t think it is that big an issue,” Watson said on Wednesday.

“There are quite a few leaders in the team, even (newcomer) Anton (Van Zyl) who has only just joined us has become a leader.

“”You need more than one leader on the field and I encourage everybody else to be leader in their department.

“I enjoy delegating and surrounding myself with other leaders.” WP Currie Cup coach Allister Coetzee said Watson’s appointment as captain was a straight forward one.

“He led us during the Super 14 when Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger were injured,” said Coetzee.
 
“So he was a natural choice.”

Watson will lead the team out at Newlands on Saturday against the touring British and Irish Lions .

“It’s an awesome opportunity to play against the Lions,” said Watson.

“They are the most famous of all touring teams.”
 
“The Lions have a strong tradition of pride.”

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