Kolisi still part of Springboks' plans but Erasmus may opt for new captain

rugby12 March 2024 09:20| © Reuters
article image
Siya Kolisi © Getty Images

Double World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi is playing excellent rugby for French club Racing 92 and will be considered for South Africa this year, though he may not lead the side, coach Rassie Erasmus said on Tuesday.

Erasmus left 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.

Eighteen of the Springboks’ 33-player squad at last year’s World Cup in France 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 reporters.

"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."

Erasmus said they 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, 'OK, you must stop now.' We have guys in their 30s who believe they can win another World Cup."

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 the odd test 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."