Who should be the next Bok captain?

2016-09-02 16:00
Handre Pollard (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Springbok captain Adriaan Strauss will retire from international rugby at the end of 2016. We pick five possible candidates who can replace him.

Strauss' decision, which was announced on Thursday afternoon, was unexpected even though he said he made the decision to retire before Bok coach Allister Coetzee asked him to captain South Africa for the season.

Nevertheless, with Strauss on his way out it's time to start thinking who can replace him in the long-term.

Warren Whiteley
Probably the most realistic option at the moment. Whiteley has gained leadership experience captaining the Lions and is well spoken. He has the respect of his fellow team-mates and should be a popular choice among fans. However, he will have to ensure that he stays a first-choice player in the team, especially when Duane Vermeulen returns from injury. If pushed Coetzee probably considers Vermeulen his first-choice number eight, so Whiteley will have to prove to the coach that he is the best player for the position.

Duane Vermeulen
When not injured, he is the Boks' first-choice at the base of the scrum which would rule Whiteley out as a candidate for the leadership role. Vermeulen is the type of player who leads by example and would be an inspired choice as he has the respect of his peers in the Bok squad. South Africa's player of the Year in 2014, Vermeulen has a very good rapport with Springbok boss Allister Coetzee, who made the 30-year-old his captain during his final year as the Stormers' head coach in 2015. The burly number eight is also Toulon's captain but what could count against him is that he is based overseas, something which Coetzee said is not ideal when he appointed Strauss earlier this year.

Bryan Habana
The veteran winger was appointed vice-captain by Coetzee prior to the Rugby Championship and is by far the most experienced candidate for the job. Habana has never captained any teams of note on a regular basis, but his experience in the Test arena should make up for that. He remains the first-choice left wing so his place in the side should be safe for the foreseeable future. However, at 33 years of age is unclear how much time he still has left at the top. His appointment would not be a long-term one.

Frans Malherbe
Earmarked as a possible Bok captain in the past by former coach Heyneke Meyer, Malherbe has little captaincy experience apart from sharing the duty with Juan de Jongh for the Stormers in Super Rugby this year. He is injury prone which has made it difficult for him to establish himself as the first-choice tighthead prop. His connection with Coetzee through the Stormers counts in his favour, but considering his inexperience as leader and injury record his appointment would be a risky one.

Handre Pollard
While Pollard is out injured for the rest of the year, he was the first-choice flyhalf towards the end of Heyneke Meyer's tenure. With Strauss only retiring at the end of the year, his successor would effectively take the reigns for the June Tests in 2017, giving Pollard enough time to recover from injury and prove himself in Super Rugby. There is no pressure on Coetzee to name Strauss' successor before the end of the year. Pollard impressed as captain of the SA Under-20 side in 2014, where he was named Player of the Tournament after leading the Junior Boks to third place at the Junior Championships. At 22 (23 if the captain in named after March 11, 2017) he would be a youthful choice but with a definite eye on the long-term. But he needs to get back to his best and establish himself again as the first-choice number 10 in the country.

Who would you like to see replace Adriaan Strauss as Springbok skipper? Let us know at mysport@sport24.co.za


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

Saturday, 29 September 2018
South Africa v Australia, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium 17:05
Saturday, 06 October 2018
South Africa v New Zealand, Loftus Versfeld 17:05
Saturday, 03 November 2018
England v South Africa, Twickenham Stadium 17:00
Saturday, 10 November 2018
France v South Africa, Stade de France 18:00
France v South Africa, Stade de France 22:05
Saturday, 17 November 2018
Scotland v South Africa, BT Murrayfield Stadium 17:00
Scotland v South Africa, BT Murrayfield Stadium 19:20
Saturday, 24 November 2018
Wales v South Africa, Principality Stadium 17:00
Wales v South Africa, Principality Stadium 19:20
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Following the win over the All Blacks in Wellington, Springbok supporters will be counting down the days until the return fixture at Loftus on October 6. How do you see that match ending?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.