Rassie Erasmus reveals the three-man shortlist for Springboks captaincy and Siya Kolisi’s future

Jared Wright
Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus and captain Siya Kolisi.

Rassie Erasmus has addressed the Springboks captaincy again.

Springboks head coach Rassie Erasmus has revealed his three-man shortlist to captain the team in the upcoming Test match against Wales at Twickenham Stadium and has updated his stance on Siya Kolisi’s future in the role.

Kolisi will miss the clash against Warren Gatland’s charges due to club commitments with Racing 92 and the match being outside the official international window, meaning that someone will have to fill the void for the first Test of the year.

Springbok captaincy

Erasmus, speaking at a press conference on Thursday, confirmed the contenders for the role and clarified that the decision on the longer-term Springboks captain will be made before the Ireland series.

“Inside the camp, the captaincy is not really such a big thing,” Erasmus explained when asked about the leadership role.

“Obviously, the long-term and permanent captain is still a thing, but this week, it is not a big concern as we go into the Wales Test match without Siya.

“But it will probably be Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth or Bongi Mbonambi.”

The above-mentioned trio have all captained the Springboks previously, Du Toit doing so only once and also against Wales in Erasmus’ first Test match in charge of the side back in 2018. Etzebeth is the most senior of the trio having skippered the side 13 times while Mbonambi led the team against Argentina and Romania last year.

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Erasmus added that Mbomambi might not get the role as he may feature on the bench, with Malcolm Marx set to make his return to action having been sidelined since the Rugby World Cup pool stage match against Scotland last year.

“We might want to start Malcolm to manage his game time,” Erasmus added.

“We would do that because if Bongi goes down in the first 10 minutes, Malcolm doesn’t have to played 70.”

The Bok head coach confirmed that the captain will be announced internally on Sunday night, following the Bulls’ United Rugby Championship semi-final against Leinster.

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Siya Kolisi’s role going forward

Erasmus added that Kolisi will “obviously be in the running” for the captaincy after leading the Springboks to back-to-back World Cup triumphs.

Doubt has arisen about his future in the leadership role following his move to Racing 92 after the World Cup, with Erasmus admitting that he prefers his captain to be based locally.

However, he reiterated again that Kolisi could still captain the side.

“Once Siya is back we can assess him and make sure there are no injuries and he is at full fitness, then we will make a decision on the long-term captaincy,” he said.

“We have two weeks after the Wales Test match before we face Ireland.

“When we announce the squad for Ireland Tests, we will announce the captain, and a guy like Siya will be in the running if everything goes well and he is injury-free.”

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