Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


Bok captaincy up for grabs? Are these men the leading candidates?

Kolisi is fully expected to continue in his role as the Bok captain for the coming international season.


Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus was very candid during the Bok coaches’ press conference on Tuesday morning when he admitted that the national side may be looking for a new captain over the coming season.

With double World Cup winning captain Siya Kolisi now based in France where he is playing for Racing 92, Erasmus admitted that it would be preferable to have a Bok captain that is based in South Africa, due to the ease of access to the player and better communication.

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“There’s a lot of players who have signed with overseas clubs with clauses in their contracts that say they will stop playing international rugby. Siya has not signed with a clause like that,” explained Erasmus.

“That’s the first thing that tells you he wants to play for South Africa. I think he is playing some of his best rugby. He looks really relaxed.

“But I would always like to have our captain locally based. Just because it’s a call and a flight and we can have a weekend together where we can plan.

“This is a unique situation. He will be considered (to continue as captain). He definitely wants to and is playing well enough. If we get the feeling that it’s doable, maybe there’s a place for that. But I still have to suss it out.”

Kolisi to continue

Kolisi is thus fully expected to continue in his role as the Bok captain for the coming international season, where he will lead the team in the incoming series against Ireland, the Rugby Championship and most likely on the end of year tour.

But there will likely be an opportunity for whoever is being eyed to be next in line to step in and captain during the season in certain games.

The most obvious next captain for the Boks would have been Handre Pollard, but with him playing for Leicester Tigers in England, that will probably rule him out of the running.

On the local front there aren’t too many standout options to take over from Kolisi, although Eben Etzebeth, Bongi Mbonambi and Lukhanyo Am will be at the forefront of the conversation.

Etzebeth and Mbonambi have both captained the Boks before, but their ages could count against them with Mbonambi 33 and Etzebeth 32 and both will be 36 during the 2027 World Cup in Australia.

Both players are also a bit hot headed at times, so they are probably not the best option to captain over an extended period.

Am is a much cooler and calmer head and is at an acceptable age with him 30 and more than likely to still be in the Bok picture at 33 by the next World Cup, however, Erasmus has admitted before that the Boks prefer to have a captain that is part of the pack due to their proximity to the ref.

Next gen leaders

The Boks’ next generation of players will also get a chance to throw their name into the hat, but it is unlikely that any of them will be considered for the Bok captaincy on a full time basis as they are not yet first choice players.

Elrigh Louw and Ruan Nortje have both captained the Bulls regularly this season, while Salmaan Moerat is the Stormers captain but none of them are expected to become first choice regulars over the coming season or two.

However, they could get a chance to show what they can do in captaining the Boks in the Test against Wales at Twickenham, which falls outside of the Test window, or the Test against Portugal in Bloemfontein, as both games are likely to feature a host of fringe and new players.