Former South Africa assistant coach Gary Gold has backed number eight Warren Whiteley to captain the Springboks next year.
With Adriaan Strauss having stepped down from the post after the end of the Springbok international campaign, a new captain has to be named, and Gold is fully behind the Lions skipper.
"I continue to support Warren Whiteley’s credentials, big time," Gold told Sport24.
"I think critically we need a guy who is playing in South Africa, who understands the landscape – the Super Rugby scene, especially.
"The history of Bok rugby has shown that there is a direct link between very strong leaders on the field and successful teams – I think of Francois Pienaar, Andre Vos, Gary Teichmann, John Smit.
"Many of them have been touted as being in the team that bit more for what they offer in captaincy than in pure playing terms. There would always have been a lot of talk about better players being potentially available in their positions at times, but I can tell you from a Smit point of view, for example, that what he brought in leadership was absolutely immense.
"When I talk of the value of guys like these, it comes not even so much during the 80 minutes of the Test match itself.
"It’s very much about the bridging between the players – their feelings, their views – and the coaches; bridging that ‘divide’, if you know what I mean, even if it shouldn’t really be a divide. The captain is a vital conduit in that area.
"I believe quite strongly Warren is that personality. He’s been critical as that bridging guy in the success of the Lions; I know Johan Ackermann views him almost as an extra assistant coach. We need to see it like that."