Etze­beth to lead Boks

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - WYNONA LOUW

WITH Spring­bok cap­tain War­ren White­ley in­jured, lock Eben Etze­beth will lead the Spring­boks in the ab­sence of White­ley for their 2017 Rugby Cham­pi­onship cam­paign. The Spring­boks kick off their pro­ceed­ings against Ar­gentina in Port Elizabeth on Au­gust 19, be­fore trav­el­ling to Salta a week later for the re­turn leg. White­ley, who was ap­pointed Bok cap­tain for the 2017 sea­son ear­lier this year, is ex­pected to be out for at least six more weeks with a groin in­jury hav­ing al­ready missed out on the last month of Su­per Rugby. The Lions skip­per was also a late with­drawal for the third Test of the Boks’ se­ries white­wash over France in June, when Etze­beth be­came the 59th Spring­bok cap­tain. Etze­beth, who made his de­but against Eng­land in Dur­ban as a 20-year-old back in 2012, has played 57 Test matches for the Spring­boks. The lock will also have a qual­ity vice cap­tain in Storm­ers skip­per Siya Kolisi, while Bok coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee men­tioned ex­pe­ri­enced Sharks prop Tendai Mtawarira and Lions fly­half El­ton Jan­tjies as be­ing part of a “strong lead­er­ship group”. Coet­zee also praised Etze­beth for the way he stood in for White­ley – who only fea­tured for the Boks as cap­tain in the first two Tests in Dur­ban and Pre­to­ria – dur­ing the fi­nal Test against the French. “Eben did an ex­cel­lent job against France in Jo­han­nes­burg, when he had to step in at short no­tice af­ter the late with­drawal of War­ren. He en­joys the re­spect of his team­mates and also com­mands re­spect on and off the field,” said Coet­zee. “He is well sup­ported by our strong lead­er­ship group which con­sists of Siya, Tendai Mtawarira and El­ton Jan­tjies.” —

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