Veteran flanker Francois Louw has hailed the leadership culture taking shape in the Springbok camp, writes CRAIG LEWIS in Durban.
Louw’s last involvement with the Boks was back in November. Plenty has changed since then, with Rassie Erasmus now heading up a new-look coaching team, while Siya Kolisi has stepped into the captaincy role.
Kolisi was ably assisted by Duane Vermeulen during the past June series against England, but the experienced No 8 has now taken up a stint playing in Japan.
Nevertheless, the Boks’ leadership group has been boosted by the return of two former Bok captains in Eben Etzebeth and Warren Whiteley, while the 33-year-old Louw is a leader in his own right.
Upon his return to the Bok squad, the Bath-based flanker said it had been encouraging to see how so many players were taking accountability on the leadership front.
‘There’s definitely a focus on building a squad that can go to the World Cup next year and challenge for the title. There are different combinations that are being tried out, but from a leadership perspective, there really are a lot more leaders than some might think.
‘There are some experienced guys who have been involved in a World Cup before, and a few youngsters really stepping up as well. We want to create a leadership culture throughout the group, rather than just having the older guys commanding the youngsters on what to do.
‘Everyone is taking ownership of their position and roles, and aiming to be at the top of their game. That’s the sort of culture that I can hopefully help to cultivate.’
Louw has previously worked with Erasmus at Western Province and the Stormers, and said it was clear to see the long-term vision the coach has for the Springboks.
‘There’s definitely a new underlying energy in the squad, and that comes from the top. There’s an immense focus on detail and accuracy, which the squad has bought into.
‘The guys are really excited, and the competition and depth in the squad is driving excellence and overall creating a better quality of team. I’m sure that was a massive factor that contributed to the team’s success in June, and now we want to build on that.’
The Springboks will open their Rugby Championship campaign against Argentina this Saturday, with the match-day squad set to be named on Thursday at 1pm.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images