Etze­beth re­tains cap­taincy go­ing for­ward

Daily News - - SPORT -

SPRING­BOK coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee has con­firmed that Eben Etze­beth will re­tain the cap­taincy of the na­tional side on the out­go­ing tour to the North­ern Hemi­sphere in Novem­ber and De­cem­ber.

Etze­beth will again lead the side in the con­tin­ued in­jury ab­sence of No 8 War­ren White­ley, who has been ruled out of the tour to Ire­land, France, Italy and Wales, and is ex­pected to be out of ac­tion for two more months as a re­sult of his groin in­jury.

The No 4 lock took over the lead­er­ship du­ties at the end of June when White­ley was forced to with­draw on the eve of the third Test against France in Jo­han­nes­burg. Etze­beth has sub­se­quently led the Spring­boks in all six Rugby Cham­pi­onship Test matches.

Coet­zee said Etze­beth has been im­pres­sive in the new lead­er­ship role so far this sea­son: “Eben has re­ally taken to his role as cap­tain of the Spring­boks and it makes sense to re­tain him. I know he is well re­spected by talk­ing to op­po­si­tion coaches and ref­er­ees, and he en­joys the re­spect of his peers.”

Coet­zee also added that Etze­beth is sup­ported by a strong lead­er­ship group.

“With Eben at the helm for the Cas­tle Lager Out­go­ing Tour, we are look­ing for­ward to con­tinue our process of build­ing con­ti­nu­ity, co­he­sion and ex­pe­ri­ence within this team as we also start to build to­wards the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Ja­pan,” said Coet­zee.

Mean­while, prop Coe­nie Oosthuizen, who suf­fered a frac­tured arm against the Wal­la­bies in Perth at the be­gin­ning of Septem­ber, is mak­ing good progress and will be avail­able for se­lec­tion.

Loose for­ward Uzair Cassiem sus­tained a rib in­jury against the Wal­la­bies two weeks ago in Bloem­fontein and the in­jury has ruled him out for an ini­tial pe­riod of six weeks. He will also be avail­able for se­lec­tion.

Duane Ver­meulen un­der­went a groin op­er­a­tion re­cently and the ex­pe­ri­enced No 8 is cur­rently busy with the fi­nal phase of his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and he is not avail­able for se­lec­tion.

Two other Spring­bok for­wards are re­cov­er­ing from longterm in­juries at the mo­ment and can’t be con­sid­ered for the tour. Frans Mal­herbe (prop) has been out of ac­tion since June with a neck in­jury and he is due to re­sume train­ing early next year, while Jaco Kriel (flank) un­der­went a suc­cess­ful shoul­der op­er­a­tion re­cently fol­low­ing his in­jury against the Wal­la­bies in Perth and has been ruled out for six months.

Wing Ruan Com­brinck is also out for six months be­cause of his shoul­der op­er­a­tion.

Mean­while, it was con­firmed to­day that the con­tracted group and iden­ti­fied Spring­boks will as­sem­ble in Stel­len­bosch from Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 23 for a four-day train­ing, as­sess­ment and con­di­tion­ing camp in prepa­ra­tion of the Out­go­ing Tour.

The Spring­bok squad for the end of year tour will be con­firmed on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 29 – the day af­ter the Cur­rie Cup fi­nal – and the squad will as­sem- ble in Jo­han­nes­burg on Tues­day, Oc­to­ber 31.

South Africa’s op­po­nents dur­ing their month-long Euro­pean tour are Ire­land (Novem­ber 11, Dublin), France (Novem­ber 18, Paris), Italy (Novem­ber 25, Padova) and Wales (De­cem­ber 2, Cardiff). – ANA

EBEN ETZE­BETH

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