NUMBER eight Gerrit-Jan van Velze has retained the captaincy for Worcester Warriors’ 2019-20 season.

Van Velze, 31, is in his second spell as captain of the Gallagher Premiership club having led Warriors from 2014 to 2017 and regained the responsibility last season from Donncha O’Callaghan.

Under van Velze’s leadership Warriors equalled their most Premiership wins in a season with nine, reached the semi-finals of the Premiership Cup and the quarter-finals of the European Challenge Cup.

Cornell du Preez impressed at number eight while Marco Mama and Ryan Mills stood in as skipper when van Velze was sidelined through injury.

But director of rugby Alan Solomons has decided to stick with van Velze who signed a two-year contract last December.

“GJ did a splendid job of captaining the side last season and it’s great to have him at the helm again this season,” Solomons said.

“GJ has a really good understanding of the game and leads from the front.

“He is committed to the club and this is reflected in the way he plays and leads.

“I look forward to working closely with him again this season.”

Van Velze joined Warriors from Northampton Saints in 2014 and has since become a linchpin of the pack.

He was captain when Warriors won the Greene King IPA Championship title in 2015 to return to the Premiership after a one-season absence and recovered from a head injury that ruled him out for most of the 2016-17 season.

Before moving to England, van Velze came through the ranks at Blue Bulls and played Currie Cup and Super Rugby for them at senior level.

He is a former South Africa Schools captain who was nominated for the IRB Under-19 Player of the Year Award in 2007.