Former Springboks captain backs SHOCK candidate to replace Siya Kolisi

Dylan Coetzee
Split with Springboks Evan Roos and Siya Kolisi

Split with Springboks Evan Roos and Siya Kolisi

Former Springboks captain Corne Krige has named a surprise successor for Siya Kolisi, with the veteran’s future as the leader of the side in doubt.

Kolisi is the most successful Springboks captain in Rugby World Cup history, becoming the first South African to hoist back-to-back titles and only the second in the game’s history after All Black Richie McCaw.

The flank is well respected as a leader and was recently named as one of Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential people, but head coach Rassie Erasmus prefers to have a locally based captain which puts Kolisi’s role at risk as he now plies his trade for Racing 92 in France.

Who is next?

While there is the chance Kolisi could continue as skipper if Racing 92 plays ball, it has opened the door to speculation over who is next in line to lead the Springboks at the 2027 World Cup, with much of the ageing squad needing an overhaul by that point.

Krige, who once donned the jersey of the Stormers, revealed his preferred candidate in Evan Roos, despite the Cape Town man only having a handful of caps to his name at this point and is not the country’s first choice number eight.

“If I was Rassie – we are still four years out from the next World Cup and I suspect that he won’t want to lose many Test matches – but he will have to blood some young talent,” Krige said on a United Rugby Championship online round table.

“A guy like Evan Roos was a standout player in a dismal performance [against the Ospreys]. He had an incredible game. He is one of the young leaders coming through the system, so possibly looking at him.

“From his schoolboy days, he has been a leader. In his position, loose forwards are usually captains, especially in South Africa. He had an incredible game against Ospreys, which is hard when everyone else around you isn’t playing that well. I was impressed with him.

“There are lots of other leaders around, but for me, Evan stood out.”

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Time for a young leader

For Krige the inexperience of Roos is not a concern as the former ran out as captain on his Test debut against Italy. The ex-flank acknowledges the game has changed but underlined the need to trial a new leader.

“I captained the Springboks in my debut match. At some point you have to give somebody that experience,” Krige said.

“The only way you give them that experience is to actually let them play and be the captain in a very important Test match, as all Tests are. Fortunately for me, my first Test was against Italy, so it wasn’t that bad.

“I really don’t think Rassie will risk picking a young captain against Ireland or New Zealand. He will go with the tried and tested, but mix a bit of youth inside.

“At some point in the year, when there is a slightly easier Test match, which you don’t really get anymore, I think he should try and bleed a young captain. Siya is unbelievable and I hope he makes it to the next World Cup, but chances are, if he has one more big injury, he probably won’t make it.

“We have to start looking at a new leader and I’m sure there are lots of them in the system.”

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