Springboks Rassie Erasmus World Cup Springbok coach SA Rugby All Blacks

Rassie Erasmus during a Springbok training session. Image: AFP

Springboks soon set to name new captain

The Springboks will have a new captain at the start of the season, and it remains to be seen how permanent this appointment might be.

Springboks Rassie Erasmus World Cup Springbok coach SA Rugby All Blacks

Rassie Erasmus during a Springbok training session. Image: AFP

The Springboks will gather in Pretoria this Sunday 9 June, to begin their on-field preparations for a blockbuster 2024 season.

It’s also been confirmed that the Test squad for the Wales season-opener on 22 June will be revealed after the conclusion of the United Rugby Championship quarter-finals on Saturday 8 June.

This squad is set to be an extremely interesting one considering that the majority of overseas-based players won’t be available due to the fact the first Test of the year falls outside of the international window. If the Bulls and Stormers reach the URC final, these players could also be ruled out.

While there is a fair bit of uncertainty for this one-off Test, what we do know is that it will be a largely experimental squad, and that a new captain will need to be named.

Coach Rassie Erasmus has openly admitted it is a preference to have a locally-based captain who would be more regularly available for meetings and alignment camps.

It’s led to questions over whether inspirational World Cup captain Siya Kolisi will be able to retain the leadership of the team now that he is based in France.

For the game against Wales, Kolisi certainly won’t be available, and so it will be interesting to see who the Springboks turn to as captain, and whether this could end up increasingly becoming more of a permanent appointment.

Whatever the case may be, if Kolisi’s game-time is going to be carefully managed through to the 2027 World Cup, the 32-year-old will not be able to feature in every Test this year.

A shared leadership structure of sorts is likely to come into place, and here we look at the likely frontrunners to take on the captain’s armband.

The Springboks have no shortage of captaincy options

Eben Etzebeth

Kolisi’s best mate may well be the man to take over the captaincy armband. Etzebeth is vastly experienced and has captained the Springboks in the past.

The powerful lock has the full respect of teammates and opponents, and he certainly wouldn’t be out of place as captain.

Bongi Mbonambi

The burly hooker is another strong contender considering he effectively served as the vice-captain during the World Cup, and stepped in as the skipper when Kolisi wasn’t playing.

Mbonambi is massively respected within the Springbok team, and Erasmus has already admitted he is one of his ‘favourites’.

Lukhanyo Am

The centre has captaincy experience at the Sharks, and could be ready to take on this additional responsibility at Springbok level.

Am is very quietly spoken, rather letting actions speak louder than words, although a factor that can’t be overlooked is the fact that his starting position in the team isn’t guaranteed after Jesse Kriel took hold of the No 13 jersey last year.

Handre Pollard

The experienced flyhalf has been part of the Springboks’ wider leadership team for some time, but there haven’t been many occasions when he has served as the designated captain from the beginning of a Test.

It’s unlikely Pollard would be a leading candidate to take over from Kolisi, and he also won’t be available for the Wales Test, but he is a capable back-up option nonetheless.

Pieter-Steph du Toit

The flanker would be an unlikely choice, but especially for the game against Wales, there is a chance that some Japan-based players such as Du Toit could be available.

The 31-year-old actually captained the Springboks in another one-off Test against Wales in 2018, and he has increasingly become a quiet leader with the team over the last few years.

South Africa’s season-opener set to be played at Twickenham

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