Cape Town - Adriaan Strauss is not sure who will replace him as Springbok captain.
The 31-year-old Bulls hooker retired from international rugby last year, having captained the national side for the entire 2016 season.
It was a terrible season for the Springboks, who won just four of 12 Tests in head coach Allister Coetzee’s first season in charge.
Strauss called it a day on the international stage but is still contracted to the Bulls until the end of the 2019 season.
In an exclusive interview with Sport24, Strauss said there appears to be many candidates to take over from him as Springbok captain, but no clear-cut favourite.
“At this stage, I don’t actually know who should succeed me and become the 58th Springbok captain. However, a number of young leaders are coming through and putting their hands up during Super Rugby," he said.
“Last year was extremely challenging for the Springboks and it may be good for a younger captain to come to the fore. I feel it will be important for the new skipper to start from scratch and build a relationship with the players and coaches. It’s exciting starting a building process of something special with a new group of players, many of whom will become Springbok legends.”
Strauss believes the Boks can bounce back from a woeful 2016 season.
“I’m very positive about Springbok rugby and I truly believe that this will be a better year for SA rugby on the field. With some new players and coaches there will be a fresh energy and vision in the side.”
Regarding the captaincy, Strauss continued: “In terms of qualities which define an effective captain, everything you do on and off the field must be to the benefit of the team. In my book, the greater good of the team should always exceed individual ambition. When I led the Springboks last season, I ensured that my heart was always in the right place. For me, the foundation of successful captaincy is all about keeping your heart pure and being able to look at yourself in the mirror with a clear conscience. As national skipper, I also realised that my role was going to extend beyond what happened on the playing field on a Saturday.”
READ Adriaan Strauss’ full interview with Sport24