VIDEO: Kolisi not guaranteed World Cup captaincy
WATCH as Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus talks about the candidates to lead South Africa at the World Cup in Japan next year.
Siyamthanda Kolisi is the short-odds favourite to lead his country at the 2019 global showpiece in Japan, but in the words of the Bok coach: It is too soon to make the call.
Erasmus, speaking to the media ahead of the Boks’ Round Five Rugby Championship encounter with Australia in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, admitted that the 27-year-old loose forward “definitely has the potential”.
Kolisi beat off the challenges of players like Warren Whiteley, Eben Etzebeth and Duane Vermeulen to become the first black player to lead the Boks in a Test – against England in June.
The coach admitted Kolisi’s first few games were not ideal, but he has grown into the role.
“In the June Tests [against England] there was a lot of tough things he had to handle,” the coach said, adding: “Because a big scene was made out of him getting the captaincy.
“His game almost suffered as a result.”
However, Erasmus feels Kolisi’s game has improved in leaps and bounds.
“I don’t think all people always see how well he is playing.
“He is great over the ball, good at the breakdown, he is really carrying well, his defensive statistics are up there. He’s doing well in the mauls. He has become a real all-rounder.
“If he keeps on growing in this manner, he is definitely going to be one of the options.”
There was big rider added to Erasmus’ approval of his captain.
“We can’t make that [captaincy] call right now,” Erasmus said.
“Look at how I was under the pump two weeks ago.
“I could make that call now and then I’m not even there as coach next year.
“Let’s take it week-by-week for now.”
Erasmus put down the Rugby Championship next year as a deadline for naming the World Cup captain.
“We should know [by then] who our captain is.
“But, going by what he’s done thus far, Siya is a strong contender.
“He’s been very impressive.”