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Erasmus explains why he's picked 'humble' Kolisi, who becomes first black Springbok Test captain

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South Africa will have their first ever black Test captain after Siya Kolisi was given the honour for the three-Test series with England, which begins on June 9th in Johannesburg.


Chilliboy Ralepelle captained a Springbok XV against a World XV in Leicester in 2006, but it didn’t have Test status.

Rassie Erasmus also named Kolisi’s Stormers teammate Pieter Steph-du Toit as the captain for the one-off Test with Wales in Washington DC this weekend.

“It’s a huge honour to captain the Springboks. Siya and Pieter-Steph are two honest, hardworking men who enjoy the respect of their fellow players. I believe both of them will do a good job as captains.” Erasmus said.

“My philosophy is that each player must take responsibility for his position and must, therefore, work extremely hard with that one goal in mind – to make the Springboks successful again,”

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Born in Zwide township near Port Elizabeth, loose forward Kolisi is also the DHL Stormers captain and has played in 28 Tests since making his debut at age 22 against Scotland in Nelspruit on 15 June 2013. He has four Test tries to his name.


Speaking to the Erasmus elaborated why he’d selected Kolisi as his captain.

“I know Siya is a good leader and I am excited about what he can offer us‚” said Erasmus.

“I coached him since he was 18 years old when he arrived at the Stormers from the Eastern Cape and through the academy until he played for the Stormers.

“I know him as a good rugby player.


“This year he has gone through some tough times with form as captain of the Stormers but he is a great leader.

“I like him because he is humble‚ he is quiet and the way he is playing at the moment he is not flashy.

“With the breakdown work he is doing in attack‚ the carries and clean ups‚ he is playing almost like a blindside flanker.

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“Before I was appointed‚ I have always understood all the transformation issues and that they are part of the way we are heading and I have bought into that.

“We are trying to fix all the wrong things that were done in the past.

“The recent things that happened did not have a bearing on this decision because my contract was signed long before.

“The players we have in this squad deserve to be here and I am not trying to fabricate things.”

But there are no guarantees that Kolisi will hang on to the honour, once the injured Warren Whiteley and Eben Etzebeth return.

“He (Kolisi) is most of the time available and it makes common sense that he is given this responsibility against England with Warren and Eben still out injured.” Erasmus added.

His captain for the Wales game, Du Toit, made his debut as a 21-year-old on 9 November 2013 against Wales in Cardiff. He is equally at home as lock and as loose forward and has played in 32 Test for the Springboks, 21 as lock, 10 times as flank and once as No 8.

All except two of the 43 players reported for Springbok duty on Sunday in Johannesburg, where the squad immediately got their preparations underway for this weekend’s Test against Wales.

The experienced duo of Frans Steyn (centre) and Bismarck du Plessis (hooker) will join the Springbok squad next Monday following the completion of their French club rugby commitments.

The former Munster coach, who was announced as Allister Coetzee’s replacement in March, also selected his 26-man squad for the Test against Wales. He will reveal his starting line-up for the Welsh match on Wednesday, just a few hours before they fly out to Washington.

The Springbok squad to face Wales in Washington (in order of name, position, franchise, Test caps, points):

Forwards (16):
Nizaam Carr (loose forward, DHL Stormers, 5, 0)
Dan du Preez (loose forward, Cell C Sharks, 3, 0)
Pieter-Steph du Toit (lock, DHL Stormers, 32, 20 – 4t)
Thomas du Toit (prop, Cell C Sharks, uncapped)
Jason Jenkins (lock, Vodacom Bulls, uncapped)
Steven Kitshoff (prop, DHL Stormers, 23, 5 – 1t)
Wilco Louw (prop, DHL Stormers, 5, 0)
Frans Malherbe (prop, DHL Stormers, 17, 0)
Bongi Mbonambi (hooker, DHL Stormers, 14, 5 – 1t)
Oupa Mohojé (loose forward, Toyota Cheetahs 18, 0)
Ox Nche (prop, Toyota Cheetahs, uncapped)
Sikhumbuzo Notshe (loose forward, DHL Stormers, uncapped)
Marvin Orie (lock, Emirates Lions, uncapped)
Chiliboy Ralepelle (hooker, Cell C Sharks 23, 5 – 1t)
Kwagga Smith (loose forward, Emirates Lions, uncapped)
Akker van der Merwe (hooker, Cell C Sharks, uncapped)

Backs (10):
Curwin Bosch (utility back Cell C Sharks, 1, 0)
André Esterhuizen (centre, Cell C Sharks, uncapped)
Warrick Gelant (fullback, Vodacom Bulls, 2, 5 – 1t)
Travis Ismaiel (wing, Vodacom Bulls, uncapped)
Elton Jantjies (flyhalf, Emirates Lions, 23, 203 – 2t, 38c, 39p)
Jesse Kriel (centre, Vodacom Bulls, 29, 40 – 8t)
Makazole Mapimpi (wing, Cell C Sharks, uncapped)
Embrose Papier (scrumhalf, Vodacom Bulls, uncapped)
Ivan van Zyl (scrumhalf, Vodacom Bulls, uncapped)
Cameron Wright (scrumhalf, Cell C Sharks, uncapped)



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