Cape Town - Coach Allister Coetzee says the next Springbok captain must put up his hand and show he wants the job.
Coetzee is already on the lookout for his next captain after incumbent Adriaan Strauss announced a few weeks ago that he would be retiring from international rugby at the end of the year.
"Young players now have an excellent chance to put their hand up. The important thing for us is to grow the leadership core within the team after the loss of Victor Matfield, Jean de Villiers, Schalk Burger and Fourie du Preez," Coetzee said.
"This year it's very important to build leaders around Adriaan. I think Warren Whiteley was an excellent leader for the Lions in Super Rugby."
The South African Rugby Union would prefer the candidate to be a South African based player rather than someone from overseas, which rules out Duane Vermeulen who probably would have been first-choice had he not moved to Toulon.
There are also rumours that Vermeulen might be considered as a blindside flank going forward, paving the way for Whiteley to establish himself as the first-choice No 8 before taking over the captaincy.
Juan de Jongh, who is back in the Springbok fold under Coetzee, is another possible candidate after leading the Stormers, but he will first have to establish himself as the first-choice inside centre ahead of the likes of Damian de Allende and Jan Serfontein.
Coetzee singled out New Zealand's strong leadership group as one of the reasons why they are currently so much better than the rest.
"The seamless transition of captaincy from Richie McCaw to Kieran Read is one of the reasons they are ahead of us," Coetzee said."