5 players who could captain Rassie's Boks

Cape Town - The Rassie Erasmus era is now well and truly underway as the Springboks look to return to their former glory days in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. 

COMMENTS OPEN: Who would you like to see lead the Springboks in 2018?

Erasmus will serve as head coach, replacing Allister Coetzee, and his backroom staff has now been confirmed too. 

The first assignment will be a clash against Wales in Washington on June 2 and then three Tests at home to England.

Players are currently doing all they can in Super Rugby and the PRO14 to prove their worth to Erasmus, and before the new coach announces his first squad, all will think they stand a chance. 

Erasmus must also appoint a captain for 2018.

Here, we look at FIVE players who could potentially be in the running for that honour.

Warren Whiteley (Lions)

Whiteley is probably the favourite at this stage to take on the Bok captaincy. He was named as Allister Coetzee's skipper at the start of 2017, but a groin injury ruined his year. Now back to full fitness, Whiteley has looked in seriously impressive form in the three matches he has played for the Lions so far this Super Rugby season. Reports this week that he is the first player that Erasmus is looking to secure on an SA Rugby contract also point towards a possible captaincy. 

Eben Etzebeth (Stormers)

Etzebeth was given the captaincy last year after Whiteley's injury, and his leadership style was met with mixed reviews. He is a man of few words who prefers to lead with his performances on the field, but he was criticised for not being able to lift heads when the Boks were up against it. Etzebeth has also been struggling with a shoulder injury this year and while he is expected to be fit for the England series, he will be short on game time.

Siya Kolisi (Stormers)

There were many who felt Kolisi should have been given the Springbok captaincy last year when Whiteley was injured. A natural leader, Kolisi was in superb form for the Boks last year. He is currently captaining the Stormers in Super Rugby and he is the type of player that motivates those around him. The only potential issue with making Kolisi captain is that he might not be guaranteed a starting place in every Test. 

Duane Vermeulen (Toulon)

It is clear that Erasmus wants Vermeulen in a Springbok jersey in 2018 and he therefore emerges as a contender for the captaincy. There have also been strong rumours of a return to the Stormers for the 31-year-old, although that has not materialised as yet. If Vermeulen is to captain, then Erasmus needs to figure out if he wants him playing in the same team as Whiteley. If that is the case, then 'Thor' will have to move to No 7.

Handre Pollard (Bulls)

This is a long shot, but Pollard has been tipped numerous times for Bok leadership honours over the years. He is back to full fitness now and will be looking to be a regular for the Boks through until 2019. He faces a battle for the No 10 jersey with Elton Jantjies, though he does appear to be becoming more of an option at No 12 too. The attraction with Pollard is that he is still just 23 and can lead the Boks for many years to come.

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