Van Velze named Warriors captain for 2018/19 campaign

Van Velze handed armband for new season

Back row GJ van Velze has been named as Warriors’ Club captain for the 2018/19 campaign.

The South African, who captained the side from 2014 to 2017, is reinstated with the armband as Warriors embark on their 2018/19 Gallagher Premiership campaign.

The South African has been a consistent performer during his four years at Sixways where he has racked up 66 appearances – all of which have been starts.

He was appointed captain in his first season at the Club, helping guide Warriors back to the top flight at the first time of asking.

He captained the side in 2015/16 and also on the opening day of the 2016/17 season before an unfortunate concussion injury kept him out for the rest of that campaign.

But last year he bounced back to full fitness and was instrumental in some of Warriors’ big wins against Northampton Saints, Leicester Tigers and Exeter Chiefs, captaining the side in the absence of Donncha O’Callaghan.

Warriors Director of Rugby Alan Solomons said: “GJ is a fantastic leader with a good rugby brain. He is calm and composed and makes good on-field decisions.

“We saw him assume the reins in the absence of Donncha last season and he did an excellent job.

“He had a great season last year and he’s done well as captain before, so I have no doubt he will lead the side well.”

Van Velze said: “It’s a privilege to be named Club captain again. Not many people get a second opportunity so it is an awesome feeling.

“We’re in a good place right now but the real test will come when the season starts and we must continue to drive standards from week to week.

“Being named captain isn’t just about one person – it’s about the support alongside them – and we’re fortunate to have a great leadership group who have become a very experienced group over the past four years.

“We’ve had the luxury of people like Jack Singleton going away with England and then working his way up into that leadership group position which is a credit to the Club, while also having guys like Francois Venter who has been a breath of fresh air.”

Before his move to Sixways, Van Velze was part of a Northampton Saints side that reached the 2012/13 Premiership final and also won the league in 2013/14.

In his earlier days, Van Velze was part of the Pretoria-based Bulls set-up in Super Rugby and South Africa’s Currie Cup.