Former Springbok assistant coach Gary Gold believes Warren Whiteley would make a very good national captain.
With Adriaan Strauss having played in his last Test this past Saturday, a new Springbok skipper will need to be appointed ahead of next season.
In the December issue of SA Rugby magazine, now on sale, Duane Vermeulen speaks of his desire to still contribute to the Springbok set-up in a leadership capacity, and simply has to be considered as a strong contender to take over as captain.
There are few other clear-cut candidates, but in an interview with Sport24, Gold highlighted the strong 'credentials' of Whiteley, who led the Lions to last year's Super Rugby final.
'I think critically we need a guy who is playing in South Africa, who understands the landscape – the Super Rugby scene, especially. The history of Bok rugby has shown that there is a direct link between very strong leaders on the field and successful teams – I think of Francois Pienaar, Andre Vos, Gary Teichmann, John Smit.
'Many of them have been touted as being in the team that bit more for what they offer in captaincy than in pure playing terms. There would always have been a lot of talk about better players being potentially available in their positions at times, but I can tell you from a Smit point of view, for example, that what he brought in leadership was absolutely immense.
'I believe quite strongly Warren is that personality. He’s been critical as that bridging guy in the success of the Lions. I know [Lions coach] Johan Ackermann views him almost as an extra assistant coach. We need to see it like that.'
Gold said he also believed that Whiteley was a good enough player to hold down a place in the team.
'I think he is quite unique in South Africa because he is one of the few [forwards] who actually uses footwork, gets you over the advantage line. He passes well, his running lines are clever, and he is hugely efficient stats-wise, with a fine work rate. He falls back in defence very well.'
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