Warren Whiteley says he was surprised by Allister Coetzee’s decision to make him the next Springbok captain.
Whiteley was given the role on Tuesday when Coetzee named his 31-man squad for the Test series against France in June.
'I only found out last night, when I had my usual one-on-one talk with Coach Allister,' said Whiteley. 'We had a longer than usual chat, and we talked about a lot of things, not just rugby.
'I was quite surprised and he told me to go and discuss it with my family and make a decision. I went home and discussed it with my wife, Felicity, who was shocked really, but also very proud.
'I am so grateful for the opportunity and will embrace this huge challenge,' added Whiteley. 'I know what the team and the Springbok brand means for our country and its people, and to be appointed as captain is a real honour and a privilege.'
Whiteley said he was fortunate to be able to call on a strong group of leaders within the Bok squad, such as Duane Vermeulen, Beast Mtawarira, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Oupa Mohoje.
'They are all proven and respected leaders at their clubs and franchise teams, and it is very comforting for me as a leader to be able to call on the advice of such players,' he said.
'I’ve always enjoyed decision-making roles, but the Springbok captaincy is a completely different challenge. I am excited about the job and I shall embrace the responsibility and huge challenge.'
Whiteley fact file:
Full name: Warren Roger Whiteley
Born: 18 September 1987, Durban
School: Glenwood High
Springbok number: 863
Test debut: 6 September 2014 vs Australia in Perth (aged 26)
Test tries: 3
Tour matches: 1
Other: Springbok Sevens (2012-2014)
Photo: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images