Now, the small issue of the Bok captaincy

Thumbnail

The new national coach has to find a replacement for Jean de Villiers and Victor Matfield, who shared the leadership responsibilities in 2014 and 2015 but are no longer available for the Boks.

Coetzee said this week he wouldn’t rush into making an appointment. “There’s a lot of unnecessary pressure placed on the position of Springbok captain. I understand it’s a vital role, a pivotal position, but it’s important that I first go out and meet with certain players - men who are inside South Africa, but also those on the outside,” said the 52-year-old after being named Bok boss earlier this week.

“The captain needs to be an extension of my coaching philosophy and my vision and he needs to fit in to the team environment,” added Coetzee.

Three men stand out immediately as fitting this description and they are all men who’ve played under Coetzee and led the Stormers and WP - Duane Vermeulen, Schalk Burger and current Stormers co-captain Juan de Jongh. The fourth man who many feel also has all the attributes to be a Bok captain, Francois Louw, plays for Bath in England, but also played for Coetzee in Cape Town.

A fit Pat Lambie, who was named Sharks captain before an injury hampered his participation in Super Rugby, could also be in the reckoning. So, too, the Lions’ Warren Whiteley.

Coetzee said he was excited about Lambie returning to action before the June Tests, especially with Handre Pollard ruled out for the year.

“I think Pat will be back when the Sharks return from their tour and that’s exciting,” said Coetzee.

“But Elton Jantjies has been very good, he’s played well, and there’s Johan Goosen and Morne Steyn overseas and they’ve both been playing well - so there’s no crisis at flyhalf. There also a few local boys who’re young, but very talented.”

Coetzee said every player eligible to play for the Boks - whether playing locally or abroad - would be given a fair chance to make the side for the June Tests against Ireland.

“Over the next few weeks we will rate the players, seed them according to form. I will only pick the best possible team, not in terms of seniority or experience, but the players will have to be match fit, medically fit and be on form in June.

“When I do select a team it will always be in the best interests of the Springboks and the country.”

The sound starts to this year’s Super Rugby competition by especially the Stormers, Lions and Bulls has impressed Coetzee and he is full of praise for the young coaches leading those teams.

“I’ve been impressed with the intensity of all the Super Rugby teams and obviously the Lions and Stormers are leading the way. But, the Bulls are looking more comfortable with ball in hand, while the Kings have also had their moments.

“A lot of unbelievable work has been done by a bunch of young Super Rugby coaches - and that makes things easier for the national coach. Just in terms of the way the teams have been playing, there’s a willingness and desire to move forward, to get more out of the game, and that’s encouraging.”

Coetzee’s first 30-man squad for the three-Test series against Ireland in June is expected to be named on May 28. - The Star

Original source: Now, the small issue of the Bok captaincy

by