South Africa vs Wales New Springbok captain

Eben Etzebeth of South Africa. Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The four strongest candidates for Springbok captain

Who are the best candidates to be named as the new Springbok captain in place of France-based Rugby World Cup-winner Siya Kolisi.

South Africa vs Wales New Springbok captain

Eben Etzebeth of South Africa. Image: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus has suggested that the captaincy might be taken from Siya Kolisi in the coming campaign.

New Springbok captain

Erasmus has hinted that he would prefer the Springbok captain be a player based in South Africa.

“Siya is playing some of his best rugby, but I prefer to have my captain locally-based as that allows for more interaction,” Erasmus told media as reported by Sky Sports.

“This is a unique situation and I think he [Kolisi] will play some Test matches, he certainly wants to, but we are not sure about the captaincy.”

If Kolisi steps aside, who will take his place?

Here we have a look at the four strongest candidates for the job.

Eben Etzebeth

As the two-time SA Rugby player of the year, Eben Etzebeth is one of the first names on a Springbok team sheet when fit.

There is a question about whether the captaincy will distract him from performing all the duties he currently pulls off around the park.

However, Etezebeth has usually shown a phenomenal match awareness that helps him do extraordinary things as a player.

There are many who want to see him translate that awareness into being the team’s skipper.

One of the more pressing concerns here is that Etzebeth is persistently linked with a move overseas and might not stay in South Africa until 2027.

Bongi Mbonambi

Bongi Mbonambi looks like the strongest candidate in the short term with his previous experience in the role.

Mbonambi is tied down to the Sharks for now, but when looking to the long-term, it is unclear if he will remain in the picture.

With South African rugby suffering from problems in the hooker position, it seems like Mbonambi might hold his role for some time to come, fitness permitting.

Mbonambi has all the qualities of a great skipper, although he sometimes loses his cool with officials.

We have seen him clash with officials before, and the Springboks might want someone with more tact in the role.

Lukhanyo Am

The Sharks skipper and key defensive co-ordinator of the backline, Lukhanyo Am, is another superb choice for skipper.

It has been quite some time since the Springboks named a permanent skipper who was a backline player.

Jean De Villiers, skipper between 2003 and 2012, was the last backline player to get a full-time appointment as skipper, although Jaque Fourie and Handre Pollard have since taken the duty on a temporary basis.

Am isn’t the loudest voice in the squad, but Erasmus could certainly build a leadership team around him.

Elrigh Louw

Elrigh Louw could a look-in at the captaincy if Erasmus takes the long view.

Louw has the qualities that a Springbok captain often possesses even if he hasn’t had too many leadership opportunities.

He would be the youngest Springbok captain since Corne Krige led a side that Erasmus played in under Nick Mallet.

The chance to mould a new skipper might prove irresistible to Erasmus and the Springboks.