Etzebeth set for extended run as Bok skipper?

Eben Etzebeth (Gallo Images)
Eben Etzebeth (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - He called Saturday the "best day of my life" after leading the Springboks to victory over France at Ellis Park, but now Eben Etzebeth could be set for an extended run as national skipper. 

It all depends on Warren Whiteley's recovery. 

On Tuesday the Lions confirmed that their skipper and No 8 would be out of action for between six and eight weeks as he works his way back from a torn ligament in his pelvis. 

Whiteley, who led the Boks to victory in their first two matches of the France series, was withdrawn just hours before kick-off in the third Test in Johannesburg with what was then called a 'groin strain'.

The news means that Whiteley is certain to miss the rest of the Super Rugby season, where the Lions are challenging for the title, but it also places him in serious doubt for the Boks' Rugby Championship opener against Argentina in Port Elizabeth on August 19. 

That fixture takes place exactly seven weeks from this week Saturday.

If Whiteley does return before that fixture, he will do so having played very little rugby.

The Currie Cup will be ongoing during that period, and Bok management may be keen to see their skipper get through a few minutes for the Golden Lions before he returns to the Green and Gold.

With the Boks off to Salta on August 26 for the away fixture against Argentina, Whiteley could only find himself being match-fit for the Boks by the time they take on Australia in Perth on September 9.

While Etzebeth proved on Saturday that he is an able replacement as captain, Whiteley's leadership style over the first two Tests against France has drawn praise from critics, fans, players and management alike as the Boks look to be turning the corner following a woeful 2016 under Adriaan Strauss. 

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