Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Compiled by Jacques van der Westhuyzen

Head of Sport

Rugby fans pick their man to lead Boks in Kolisi’s absence — poll

The Boks could have a new man leading them at the World Cup in September.

While South African rugby fans wait for news on the severity of the knee injury suffered by Springbok captain Siya Kolisi last weekend, talk has turned to who should step into the leadership role were the Sharks man to be ruled out of action for a lengthy period.

Several names have been bandied about, among them Eben Etzebeth, Lukhanyo Am, Handre Pollard and Steven Kitshoff.

World Cup

Kolisi’s Rugby World Cup participation seems in doubt after news emerged early in the week that he had partially torn his cruciate ligaments in his knee during the URC match against Munster in Durban last Saturday.

Not the Sharks nor SA Rugby have said a word about the injury.

There is, however, concern that the 31-year-old will not be able to lead the Boks this year, in the Rugby Championship and World Cup, in France, starting in early September.

Now, following a poll conducted by SA Rugby magazine, readers have had their say about who should lead the Boks in Kolisi’s absence.

And the results are clear and favour … Etzebeth.

Eben Etzebeth
Eben Etzebeth captained the Boks in 2017. Picture: Chris Fairweather/Huw Evans Agency/Gallo Images

The towering lock has of course led the team previously, mostly in 2017 under Allister Coetzee and when hooker Adriaan Strauss also captained the Boks. That all changed in 2018 when Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber took over and Kolisi was appointed captain.

In the sarugbymag.co.za poll, Etzebeth, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, earned 30% of the votes, while Duane Vermeulen won 22%.

Am got 16.5% and Pollard 16.2%. Kitshoff, the Stormers leader, received 13% of the votes.

The other options for readers were Kwagga Smith (1.2%) and Willie le Roux (0.8%).