Rassie Erasmus Siya Kolisi Springboks Rugby World Cup 2023

Rassie Erasmus and Siya Kolisi. Photo: SA Rugby website

Rassie Erasmus drops big hint about Siya Kolisi captaincy

Will Siya Kolisi retain the Springbok captaincy once he is back with the team? Here is the latest insight from coach Rassie Erasmus.

Rassie Erasmus Siya Kolisi Springboks Rugby World Cup 2023

Rassie Erasmus and Siya Kolisi. Photo: SA Rugby website

It seems rather crazy that a big talking point over the first half of this year has revolved around whether Siya Kolisi will be able to continue as Springbok captain.

However, Rassie Erasmus has made it clear that a crucial decision will need to be made due to the fact the South African Rugby Union generally did not want to have a captain who plies his trade overseas.

It’s understood that Erasmus wanted at least some assurances from Kolisi’s French side Racing 92 that the club wouldn’t stop the flanker from attending key Springbok training camps.

Currently, Kolisi is with Racing as they prepare to take on the Bordeaux-Begles in Sunday’s French Top 14 playoff, but he will then rejoin the Springbok team ahead of the July Tests against Ireland.

SIYA KOLISI TO CONTINUE AS SPRINGBOK CAPTAIN?

Considering the status Kolisi holds in the game, and how important his leadership is to the Springboks, it does understandably seem that Erasmus and SA Rugby are hopeful that an exception can be made for an overseas-based captain.

It’s also been reported that Erasmus has a definite plan to ensure that Kolisi makes it to the next World Cup in 2027, and that his game-time will be managed with this in mind.

In a press conference this week, the Springbok coach shed further light on the matter.

“To be honest with you, inside the team, the captaincy is not such a big thing,” he said.

“Obviously, a long-term permanent captain is something. We’re going into this Wales Test without Siya and without seeing how Siya is going to come back from France. We’ll need to assess him and see how he slots into things. We have two weeks after the Wales Test match.”

Having said all that, Erasmus then perhaps dropped the biggest hint that if Kolisi is fit and available, he will be retained as the team leader.

“When we announce the Irish squad, we’ll announce a captain and obviously a guy like Siya will be in the running if everything goes well and he is injury free.”

SHARED LEADERSHIP

It stands to reason that Kolisi may not always be able to serve as the run-on captain, but the Springboks are blessed with a healthy leadership group.

A new captain for next weekend’s season-opener against Wales will be revealed on Tuesday.

“It will probably be Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben (Etzebeth) or Bongi (Mbonambi), but then we might want to start Malcom [Marx] to manage his game time,” Erasmus commented.

“The guys are all leading really well – the core of the group that has been with us for four years. They understand that there are youngsters around them. We’ll make that call on Sunday night internally and then we’ll announce the captain for Wales.”