Springboks’ coach Allister Coetzee has named Warren Whiteley as the team’s new captain for the forthcoming Castle Lager Incoming test Series against France in June.
Whiteley, who has 15 international caps, takes the armband from previous Bok skipper Adriaan Strauss, who retired at the end of last season. The 29-year-old has successfully led the Johannesburg Lions since 2014.
Whiteley, an outstanding leader, says Bok coach
Coetzee says Whiteley has been one of the outstanding leaders in South African rugby for the past few years. “It was not a difficult decision to make Warren the captain. I think what we need to understand is that there should be a certain picture of what a captain should be like when it comes to leading a Springbok side. He is respected by his team-mates and opposition alike and has a lot of experience when it comes to captaincy, having led the Lions with great authority for many seasons. He is resilient, copes well under pressure and makes good decisions,” Coetzee said.
The Lions’ No.8 said he himself was surprised by Coetzee’s decision to make him the next captain, as he told reporters, “We had a longer than usual chat, and we talked about a lot of things, not just rugby. I was quite surprised and he told me to go and discuss it with my family and make a decision. I went home and discussed it with my wife, Felicity, who was shocked really but also very proud. I am so grateful for the opportunity and will embrace this huge challenge”.
Blend of youth and experience
Warren will lead a relatively unexperienced squad, which features eight players who have yet to be capped: Lukhanyo Am, Andries Coetzee, Ross Cronje, Dillyn Leyds, Raymond Rhule, Courtnall Skosan, Ruan Dreyer and Lizo Gqoboka.
Coetzee has also recalled six experienced campaigners who have more than 200 Test caps each: Frans Steyn, Jan Serfontein, Francois Hougaard, Duane Vermeulen, Coenie Oosthuizen and Chiliboy Ralepelle.
South Africa take on France in Pretoria on 10 June, then in Durban on 17 June and finally in Johannesburg on 24 June.
Forwards: Lood de Jager (Bulls), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Ruan Dreyer (Lions), Etzebeth (Stormers), Steven Kitshoff (Bordeaux-Begles), Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Jaco Kriel (Lions), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Oupa Mohoje (Cheetahs), Franco Mostert (Lions), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Lizo Gqoboka (Bulls), Coenie Oosthuizen (Sharks), Chiliboy Ralepelle (Sharks), Duane Vermeulen (Toulon), Warren Whiteley (Lions, captain),
Backs: Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Andries Coetzee (Lions), Ross Cronje (Lions), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Francois Hougaard (Worcester), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Dillyn Leyds (Stormers), Rudy Paige (Bulls), Raymond Rhule (Cheetahs), Jan Serfontein (Bulls), Courtnall Skosan (Lions), Frans Steyn (Montpellier).
New Springbok skipper Warren Whiteley faces the media for 1st time as Bok captain. pic.twitter.com/mgQjLjwsbX— South African Rugby (@Springboks) 23 May 2017