Overseas skipper a possibility for Boks

Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee is yet to decide who his captain will be for the 2017 season, but he has not ruled out the possibility of it being an overseas-based player. 

SA Rugby's new policy, which kicks in from the end of June, states that players who are based overseas but have less than 30 Bok caps will not be available for selection until 2019 - a World Cup year. 

The ultimate aim is to back players who commit to South African rugby and to, hopefully, force players to think twice before moving overseas, but that does not necessarily mean that the skipper for the year needs to be based in South Africa. 

Coetzee backed Adriaan Strauss to lead the Boks throughout 2016 - a year in which they won just four of their 12 Tests. But Strauss retired after that nightmare season, and now Coetzee must find a new leader in what is a crucial year for South African rugby and in the coach's bid to convince a sceptical public that he is the man to guide this team to 2019.

The announcement won't happen soon - Coetzee says that he will likely make the decision public at the Bok camp ahead of the first Test against France at Loftus on June 10 - but he did not rule out any possibilities. 

"I am casting the net wider than normal to make sure," Coetzee said when asked whether or not the captain had to be based in South Africa. 

The likeliest overseas-based captain is Toulon's Duane Vermeulen, while Francois Louw is another possibility. 

Vermeulen has 37 Bok caps while Louw has 52.

If he goes local, Coetzee believes that he will have to back a young captain.  

"It's always going to be a challenge because of what we lost after Rugby World Cup 2015. If you look at the number of leaders we lost," he said.

"If you look at the franchises and you see how young our leaders are at this point in time at Super Rugby level, then there is work to be done.

"I am of the opinion that still that your captain must choose himself. He must be in the starting XV before he can become the captain."

Coetzee also confirmed that sports psychologist Pieter Kruger, who has worked with the Boks in the past and was a part of October's coaching indaba in Cape Town, would have a role to play in identifying the right man for the job. 

"Professor Pieter Kruger has worked with the Springboks and he will be joining me in making sure that the players we have on the radar have all the right qualities," said Coetzee.

"When you look for a Springbok captain, what is it you are looking for? That is something that we're busy with ... making sure we have the right criteria."

The current Super Rugby captains are Warren Whiteley (Lions), Franois Venter (Cheetahs), Tera Mtembu (Sharks; Pat Lambie injured), Siya Kolisi (Stormers), Schalk Ferreira (Kings; injured) and Strauss (Bulls). 

Another name locally that has been mentioned in the captaincy conversation is that of Bulls flyhalf Handre Pollard.

"He will probably be young if it's going to be a local guy," Coetzee said.

"He will make mistakes and if appointing a young captain is the route that I'm going to take then we've got to build around this guy and make sure that it's not just him alone and that he's got many other leaders around them."

Coetzee and the Boks have been in Stellenbosch since Sunday taking part in a defence-focused training camp. A training session on Tuesday morning was set to bring the camp to an end before the players returned to their Super Rugby franchises. 

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