By Ali Stokes
Worcester Warriors confirm South African backrow GJ van Velze as the club's captain for a fourth season ahead of the 2018/19 Gallagher Premiership season.
The 30-year-old lead the Warriors for three successive seasons before being replaced by former Ireland and Munster legend Donncha O'Callaghan last year. With the Irishman finally hanging up his boots last May, van Velze will once again take charge of the side, aiming to finally escape the relegation zone and a third consecutive 11th place finish.
The former Blue Bulls and Northampton man, van Velze, started all but two of the Warriors' Premiership fixtures last season and has become a mainstay in the starting lineup, forcing Scottish international David Denton - who signed for Leicester Tigers over the summer - onto the blindside.
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."
Van Velze also commented on his appointment earlier today: “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."
With a new-look coaching setup and flood of fresh arrivals within the player staff that include Springbok centre Francois Venter, Scotland fly-half Duncan Weir and Hurricanes lock Michael Fatialofa, Worcester boss Alan Solomons will have his sights set as high as a mid-table finish this year, with flashes of excellence during the 2017/18 season that was significantly disrupted by injury, yet profited victories away from home at both Exeter Chiefs and Leicester.
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