Coetzee sees leadership void in search for new Springboks captain

Allister Coetzee is still wrestling with who to pick to replace Adriaan Strauss as South Africa captain due to a dearth of experienced candidates.

Strauss announced last September that he would retire from Test rugby at the end of 2016, and Coetzee is yet to appoint a replacement with his own Springboks future uncertain until last week.

Since the World Cup in 2015, South Africa have seen stalwarts like Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez and Victor Matfield leave the set up.

Choosing a new skipper is something Coetzee insists he will not rush, stating he will make a decision before a trio of Tests against France in June.

"What has been a big challenge is the lack of senior players and leadership. If you look at the 2015 Rugby World Cup we've lost 650 test caps and five captains. It left a bit of a void," said Coetzee.

"Therefore we are sitting with a young group of Springboks. Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Siya Kolisi are all 26 or younger. They may have played a couple of times but in terms of leadership they are still young.

"These are the guys we need to give the opportunity to grow, and we put them in the position to lead a national team.

"If I had to ask you [the media] who your captain would be, we would have a number of candidates.

"There is a process I'm going to follow, and I'll definitely appoint a captain before the first two weeks of preparation."

Coetzee recently ran a three-day training camp with 41 players in Johannesburg, and he is eager to monitor their progress before making his selection for the series against France.

He said: "The players arrived in good condition, which shows they have been working hard according to their strength and conditioning programmes.

"There were several new faces that attended a Springbok camp for the first time and the energy and enthusiasm was great to see.

"We will hold two similar camps in the next two months, and that will give us added opportunities to look at more new faces because the Bulls players will for instance not be able to attend the Stellenbosch camp due to their Super Rugby travel commitments."

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