Kolisi is perfect fit for Bok role
The Stormers star has backing to keep armband
It is probably reflective of the changing‚ more inclusive times in South African rugby‚ that the incoming‚ once-off Springbok captain hails his successor‚ for potentially only the remainder of June‚ as the “obvious choice”.
However‚ Pieter-Steph du Toit‚ who will become the 60th man to lead the Springboks when they play Wales in Washington tomorrow‚ is in little doubt that his Stormers teammate and captain‚ Siya Kolisi‚ is made for the job.
In his mind‚ Du Toit is just keeping the seat warm.“Siya was the obvious choice to be the Springbok captain‚” said Du Toit. “I really back him for that as well. He is a great leader for the Stormers on and off the field‚ as well in the way he is trying to help people. He is a champion person.
“I think becoming Springbok captain was a dream for him as well. I think it is a great opportunity for both of us.”
Before Kolisi takes charge against England‚ Du Toit‚ however‚ has to front up against Wales‚ who have beaten the Boks in three of their last four clashes.
“It is a great privilege for me‚” said the grandson of Piet “Spiere” du Toit‚ who played 14 Tests between 1958 and 1961.
“I want to thank the coach for backing me for this game. It is going to be a massive Test match. We are going to have a big task on our hands.” The 25-year-old quickly assumed a leadership role in the Stormers pack‚ but he didn’t anticipate being handed such a weighty responsibility.
“Getting the captaincy is something in your dreams. It is difficult to explain to you how it feels. I haven’t thought about it. It will be probably only after the Test.”
He has‚ however‚ more or less figured out what is expected.
“I want to be a captain who leads by example. Someone who puts his deeds where his mouth is. Someone who plays well‚ trains well and who is never late for meetings. A real professional. Hopefully I will perform on Saturday and bring my best game; try and lead by example in the way I play. Try and motivate the guys to get out there and perform to their best.”
Although Du Toit’s skill set has helped him perform dual roles in the second and back rows for the Stormers and the Boks‚ it hasn’t diluted his impact – nor the way he is perceived in either position. He certainly brings bone-jarring physicality to both positions.
“Sometimes people tag players as a jack of all trades and master of none. That is not the case with Pieter-Steph‚” Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus said.
“He can start at five for us in any Test match. He can start at blindside flank also for us. For this specific Test with all the other locks like Lood [de Jager] and Eben [Etzebeth] going down we need him as the steady rock over there.
“[We needed] a guy with Test experience. Marvin Orie can definitely call [the lineouts] but Pieter-Steph has more experience.
“For this specific game that is where we need him also in that leadership role. We are building him as another leader going to the World Cup. This is the perfect stage for him to start that process‚” said Erasmus. — DDC..