Eben Etzebeth

South Africa’s lock Eben Etzebeth kisses the Webb Ellis Cup. Photo by Franck Fife/AFP

Etzebeth’s selfless stance on Springbok captaincy

Eben Etzebeth downplays Springbok captaincy speculation, emphasising team unity and success as the key focus for the upcoming season.

Eben Etzebeth

South Africa’s lock Eben Etzebeth kisses the Webb Ellis Cup. Photo by Franck Fife/AFP

In a recent interview with SABC Sport, Eben Etzebeth, the two-time world champion and Springbok centurion, downplayed the speculation surrounding the Springbok captaincy.

He says it would be “great” if he got the role but emphasises team unity and success. Etzebeth’s leadership skills and experience make him a strong contender for the position, but he remains focused on the team’s overall performance.

Etzebeth’s Previous Leadership Roles

Etzebeth captained the team in 2017 and stood in for an injured Siya Kolisi in 2019 and 2023. The 119-Test lock is a leading candidate for the captaincy, alongside Sharks teammates Lukhanyo Am and Bongi Mbonambi.

Kolisi is unavailable for the opening Test against Wales at Twickenham on 22 June due to club commitments. Etzebeth’s proven track record as a leader and his ability to step up when needed make him a valuable asset to the Springbok squad.

Etzebeth Prioritises Winning Test Matches

“I don’t want to speculate too much on the Boks captaincy,” Etzebeth told SABC Sport. “If Siya is match-fit, he will always be in the team, and he might lead us [or] someone else might lead us.”

He added, “We just want to win Test matches. We’re a core leadership group and we all work together. The captain on the day will run out in front, but we will always work together. Whoever the responsibility lies on, we’ve got the backing of a couple of senior players.”

Focus on Team Performance Over Individual Roles

Etzebeth stressed the team’s focus on performance, not individual roles. “If that responsibility comes to me, great; if it doesn’t, also great, because we want to be successful in our Test matches this year, and that’s the main thing for us,” he said.

“We’re not worrying about which individual gets what [role], as long as we can perform well as a team.” This mindset demonstrates Etzebeth’s commitment to the team’s success and his willingness to put the team’s needs above his own.

The Springboks face a challenging year, with the opening Test against Wales followed by the Rugby Championship and the World Cup in France.

Etzebeth’s focus on team unity and success will be vital for their performance. His leadership and experience will be invaluable as the team navigates these high-pressure situations.

Etzebeth’s Leadership Experience and Commitment

Etzebeth brings valuable leadership experience to the Springbok squad, having served as a full-time captain and stood in for Kolisi. His calm demeanour and ability to lead by example have earned him respect from his teammates and coaches.

Etzebeth’s leadership style is one that inspires confidence and unity within the team, making him a strong candidate for the captaincy role.

As speculation about the captaincy continues, one thing is clear: Eben Etzebeth is committed to the success of the Springbok team, no matter who leads them onto the field.

His dedication to the team and his unwavering focus on performance make him an invaluable member of the squad, both on and off the field.