Siya Kolisi’s Springboks captaincy hinges on Racing 92 decision

Dylan Coetzee
Split with Springboks captain Siya Kolisi and head coach Rassie Erasmus.

Split with Springboks captain Siya Kolisi and head coach Rassie Erasmus.

Springboks head coach Dr Rassie Erasmus could well keep the inspirational Siya Kolisi as captain of South Africa provided his club side Racing 92 is willing to play ball.

Erasmus revealed earlier this week that Kolisi’s reign as skipper could be over with the tactician preferring whoever leads the side to be locally based. This is because it allows elevated interaction whilst also increasing the potential to fulfil commercial responsibilities.

Captain Kolisi

Kolisi has enjoyed a very successful stint as captain that began with the accolade of being the first skipper of colour for South Africa and has grown during back-to-back Rugby World Cups and over 50 games leading South Africa.

The latest developments as reported by Rapport are that Erasmus could make an exception for Kolisi if Racing 92 would be willing to release the flank in time to prepare for Test matches.

Erasmus wants confirmation that Kolisi will be available for camps outside of Test windows and only then would he be prepared to consider the great leader for the role.

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Rebuild loading

The captaincy decision is a key part of a massive rebuild required by the Springboks this World Cup cycle, with a great deal of their squad that won the 2023 showpiece perhaps a bit too long in the tooth to reach the 2027 tournament.

Outside of that Erasmus has to build depth in the tight five in particular as well as various other positions across the team. The coach has already made steps towards that by inviting 16 uncapped players to a 43-man alignment squad at the beginning of March.

The World Cup three-peat has never been done with the Springboks and All Blacks the only sides to defend a World Cup. Erasmus is determined to change that and has made some coaching changes to facilitate the side’s evolution with Jerry Flannery coming in as defence coach and former All Black Tony Brown as the attack coach.

The Springboks have made some other clever appointments with retired referee Jaco Peyper named the national law adviser whilst Irishman Paddy Sullivan joined the team as a performance analyst.

Erasmus’s side begins their season with a Test against Wales at Twickenham in June that falls outside of the Test window meaning overseas players, like Kolisi, will be unavailable. The game also clashes with the United Rugby Championship final so if any South African side reach that stage they would be unavailable for selection.

READ MORE: SA Rugby confirm Rassie Erasmus’ replacement in new high-performance position