South African rugby team coach Allister Coetzee is currently in search of the next captain that will lead the Springboks in this year’s list of fixtures, with previous skipper Adriaan Strauss having retired at the end of last year.
Strauss captained the Boks during Coetzee’s first year in charge, but soon after he was appointed he made it known that he would retire from international rugby at the end of the season. His coach therefore had a great deal of time to consider his successor.
The Springboks endured a terrible season during 2016 in which they lost a record eight games out of 12, and despite the debacle, Coetzee has been retained and given a second chance to turn things around with the two-time Rugby World Cup champions.
The first assignment on the pitch for the South Africans this year will come in the form of a three-test series against the French in June, and Coetzee is adamant that a permanent captain will be in place by then.
An announcement likely to come in the week or two before the first game against France.
Coetzee has confirmed that he will be relying on the expertise of psychologist Pieter Kruger, who was involved in the national coaching indaba in Cape Town last October, in making the captaincy decision.
This is due to the importance of the mental strength and attitude that a squad leader needs to possess in order to command respect, motivate the team, lead by example and deal equally well with wins and losses as they come.
“We are looking at the captaincy issue and will have one in place the week before the first test against France,” Coetzee admitted to the media, according to SuperSport.
“We are casting our net wider than normal and I have enlisted the help of Prof Pieter Kruger to look at making sure that all the criteria are met.”
With many of the candidates for captain playing their club rugby overseas, the coach needs to make a decision on whether to choose an experienced player that is not based within South Africa, or a younger star with great potential that can be groomed for the role.
“If we choose a locally based player to captain the team it might be a young guy who we know will be going to the Rugby World Cup. But just being captain doesn’t mean he will immediately get it right. He will make mistakes. What we will have to do is build around this young guy and make sure he has good leaders around him,” the coach added.
With the 2019 Rugby World Cup foremost in the mind of the Springbok coach, he may choose a captain that can be groomed for the role and yet be young enough to feature prominently in Japan come the showpiece event.