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Erasmus: Kolisi may no longer be Springboks captain

Double Rugby World Cup winning skipper Siya Kolisi may not be retained as South Africa captain, head coach Rassie Erasmus said on Tuesday. 

Erasmus stepped down from his role as director of rugby to return as head coach of the Springboks as they move towards the 2027 Rugby World Cup in Australia, and has hinted that some of the ‘old guard’ will be phased out over the next few seasons.

Flanker Kolisi joined Racing 92 in Paris following the autumn’s World Cup in France.

Some 18 of the Springboks’ 33-player squad at last years World Cup were over the age of 30, with Kolisi turning 33 in June.

“Siya is playing some of his best rugby, but I prefer to have my captain locally-based as that allows for more interaction,” Erasmus told media.

“This is a unique situation and I think he [Kolisi] will play some Test matches, he certainly wants to, but we are not sure about the captaincy.”

racing 92, Kolisi, Lancaster
Image: Kolisi moved to Racing 92 in Paris after the Rugby World Cup in October

South Africa are next in action when they host Ireland in a two-Test series this July.

Erasmus added the Springboks outlined a timeline for each player when he was appointed coach six years ago.

“In 2018 we had a roadmap for the players and we said: ‘Where will this guy be in 2019, 2023 and 2027?’ We know exactly which players can only last another year, and we have given them the task to help the youngsters before they leave.

“But it is a challenge to tell a player: ‘Okay, you must stop now.’ We have guys in their 30s who believe they can win another World Cup.”

South Africa's director of rugby Rassie Erasmus watches players warming up at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, Friday, July 7, 2023, ahead of their Rugby Championship test against Australia scheduled for Saturday, July 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Image: Erasmus spoke to media about the make up of his squad, moving older players on and Kolisi on Tuesday

One criticism of the Springboks between their World Cup successes in 2019 and 2023 was their relatively low win ratio of around 65 per cent as Erasmus and then head coach Jacques Nienaber chopped and changed players to develop squad depth.

But Erasmus believes this will be a vital component of building for the next World Cup and says they are not afraid to lose Tests if it helps build a stronger side.

“Building a squad means giving young guys an opportunity and making sure we always improve on depth,” he added.

“By doing that you will lose a few Test matches, but then we will have the answers when we get to the World Cup.

“I would rather win the World Cup than sit at an 85 per cent win rate in between.”

Sky News
(c) Sky Sports 2024:Source