Schalk Burger of the Stormers.

Schalk Burger of the Stormers. Photo: Getty Images

JOHANNESBURG: Springbok flanker Schalk Burger will captain Western Stormers in the 2013 Super 15 season after recovering from injury, coach Allister Coetzee confirmed on Wednesday.

Burger, 29, suffered a knee injury in the opening round of the 2012 southern hemisphere provincial championship that kept the 1.93-metre, 115-kilogram forward sidelined all season.

Springbok skipper and centre Jean de Villiers replaced Burger as leader of the Stormers and now reverts to being vice-captain as the Cape Town-based team seek a first title.

They lost at home to fellow South Africans Coastal Sharks in the 2012 semi-finals and launch the new campaign on February 22 away to three-time champions Northern Bulls in Pretoria.

The return of 2007 World Cup winner Burger heightens competition for Springbok back-row places with Bulls' Pierre Spies also fit again and ready to challenge incumbents Francois Louw, Willem Alberts and Duane Vermeulen.

AFP