Whiteley out, Etzebeth to lead Boks on European tour

Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee has confirmed that Eben Etzebeth will retain the captaincy of the national side on their tour to the northern hemisphere in November and December.

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Etzebeth will again lead the side in the continued injury absence of No 8 Warren Whiteley, who has been ruled out of the tour to Ireland, France, Italy and Wales and is expected to be out of action for two more months as a result of his groin injury.

The No 4 lock took over the leadership duties at the end of June when Whiteley was forced to withdraw on the eve of the third Test against France in Johannesburg. Etzebeth has subsequently led the Springboks in all six Rugby Championship Test matches.

Coetzee said Etzebeth has 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.”   

Coetzee also added that Etzebeth is supported by a strong leadership group.

“With Eben at the helm for the 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,” according to Coetzee.

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).