Etzebeth confirmed as Bok skipper for rest of the season
After a rampaging performance against the All Blacks at Newlands last week‚ lock Eben Etzebeth has been installed as the Springbok captain for the remainder of the year.
Coach Allister Coetzee confirmed the appointment on Thursday hours after it was revealed that No 8 Warren Whiteley would not play again this season.
Whiteley was named as captain in June but suffered a groin injury before the third Test against France and has subsequently had surgery. Although it was hoped he would tour Ireland‚ Europe and Britain with the Boks in November‚ his recovery has been slower than expected.
Etzebeth led the Springboks throughout the Rugby Championship‚ which saw the South Africans end third despite only losing two of their six matches.
Coetzee said Etzebeth had been impressive in the new leadership role so far this season.
“Eben has really taken to his role as captain of the Springboks and it makes sense to retain him. I know he is well respected by talking to opposition coaches and referees‚ and he enjoys the respect of his peers‚” the Bok coach said.
“With Eben at the helm for the outgoing tour‚ we are looking forward to continue our process of building continuity‚ cohesion and experience within this team as we also start to build towards the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.”
Meanwhile‚ prop Coenie Oosthuizen‚ who suffered a fractured arm against the Wallabies in Perth at the beginning of September‚ is making good progress and will be available for selection.
Loose forward Uzair Cassiem sustained a rib injury against the Wallabies two weeks ago in Bloemfontein and the injury has ruled him out for an initial period of six weeks. He will also be available for selection.
Duane Vermeulen underwent a groin operation recently and the experienced No 8 is currently busy with the final phase of his rehabilitation and he is not available for selection.
Two other Springbok forwards are recovering from long-term injuries at the moment and cannot be considered for the tour.
Frans Malherbe (prop) has been out of action since June with a neck injury and is due to resume training early next year. Jaco Kriel (flank) underwent a successful shoulder operation recently following his injury against the Wallabies in Perth and has been ruled out for six months.
Wing Ruan Combrinck is also out for six months because of his shoulder operation.
Meanwhile‚ it was confirmed on Thursday that the contracted group and identified Springboks will assemble in Stellenbosch from Monday‚ October 23 for a four-day training‚ assessment and conditioning camp in preparation of the tour.
The Springbok squad for the end of year tour will be confirmed on Sunday‚ October 29 – the day after the Currie Cup final – and the squad will assemble in Johannesburg on Tuesday‚ October 31.
South Africa’s opponents during their month-long European tour are Ireland (November 11‚ Dublin)‚ France (November 18‚ Paris)‚ Italy (November 25‚ Padova) and Wales (December 2‚ Cardiff).