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Reader blog: Best spot for skipper

In a previous blog about who should be Bok captain, readers started an interesting conversation about what position a captain should play.

Majority thought your captain should be a forward and most suggested he should be a flank or No.8. History has shown that hookers, locks, No.8s, flank, scrumhalves and flyhalves to be the preferred positions for a leader.

Hannes Marais’ (prop) record as Bok captain is 6/11 wins; however, he did captain the Boks against arguably the best touring side ever in the game, the 1974 British and Irish Lions. Sean Fitzpatrick, Andy Dalton and Keith Wood, John Smit (all hookers) were inspirational captains. Martin Johnson and John Eales won World Cups as captains in the lock position while Victor Matfield achieved great success at Super Rugby and Currie Cup level and has a 15/20 winning record as Bok captain. Willie-John McBride and Paul O’Connell were also great Ireland and Lions captains.

Dawie de Villiers and Divan Serfontein were good Bok captains while Joost van der Westhuizen had an 80% success streak as Bok captain. Nick Farr-Jones and David Kirk lifted ‘Bill’ at the ‘holy grails’ of 1991 and 1987 respectively, all behind the ‘oven’.

Naas Botha as a ‘general and captain’ had an only a 44% winning record. Hugo Porta and Michael Lynagh also captained their nations in the No.10 jersey. Hennie Muller (88%), Morne du Plessis (86%), Gary Teichmann (72%), Wynand Claasen (71%) and Bob Skinstad (50%) were all great captains and No.8’s. Corne Krige was a favourite who lead by example and just like Richie McCaw was tough as nails. McCaw is the most successful captain and lead the mighty All Blacks now in a 100 Tests and to World Cup glory.

Francois Pienaar wore the No.6 when South Africa won the World Cup in 1995. Other openside flanks who lead include Thierry Dusautoir, Michael Hooper, David Poccock, Sam Warburton and Jean Pierre Rives. Obviously captaincy cannot be judged purely by winning margins as some great captains might not have played in superior teams.

I still rate Morne du Plessis as the best Bok captain ever. Ex-Springbok prop Ollie le Roux (54 tests) says these three things are crucial to be a successful captain:

1. Be the best in your position

2. Charismatic on and off the field

3. Lead by example with your play on the field

His best captains he played under were: Gary Teichman was a standout and the best. Francois Pienaar also excellent and Ollie believes that Bob Skinstad would have been up there, but, got the captaincy too quickly.

Other or international captains he rated: Sean Fitzpatrick and George Gregan

 By Kevin de Goede



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