Rassie Erasmus makes Siya Kolisi decision as South Africa captain confirmed for Ireland series

Siya Kolisi has retained the Springboks captaincy  (Getty Images)
Siya Kolisi has retained the Springboks captaincy (Getty Images)

Double World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi will remain South Africa skipper after Rassie Erasmus confirmed that the flanker will lead his side in their series against Ireland.

Kolisi steered his side to a second consecutive triumph in Paris in October to cement his place in the pantheon of great sporting leaders.

Only Richie McCaw had previously captain a side to two men’s World Cup crowns, but Erasmus suggested earlier this year that there was no guarantee that the 33-year-old remained in post.

The coach had indicated that Kolisi’s move to Racing 92 in France had complicated matters with his preference for a domestic-based leaders of his squad.

But amid criticism over his performances and fitness since arriving in Paris, Erasmus has given strong backing to Kolisi after selecting the back row in his squad to take on Ireland in two Tests in July.

Siya Kolisi joined Racing 92 after last year’s World Cup (Getty Images)
Siya Kolisi joined Racing 92 after last year’s World Cup (Getty Images)

“Siya will be the captain and will again wear the No 6 jersey,” Erasmus, who has returned to the lead coaching role after Jacques Nienaber’s departure, confirmed. “He’s fit and isn’t carrying any injuries.”

Fellow flanker Pieter-Steph du Toit led South Africa in their win over Wales at Twickenham in a fixture that Kolisi and the Springboks’ other Europe-based players were unavailable for.

Bongi Mbonambi and Eben Etzebeth were other potential figures in the frame were a switch of leader to be made, but Erasmus has kept Kolisi in the role for the matches with Andy Farrell’s tourists on July 6 and 13.

Other World Cup winners returning to Erasmus’ squad for the series include Leicester fly half Handre Pollard and lock RG Snyman, who will swap Munster for Leinster ahead of next season.

South Africa will host Ireland in an eagerly-anticipated series (AFP via Getty Images)
South Africa will host Ireland in an eagerly-anticipated series (AFP via Getty Images)

The fit-again Chelsin Kolbe and Lukhanyo Am are also back in the mix, while there are three uncapped players in front Phepsi Buthelezi, Johan Grobbelaar and Jan-Hendrik Wessels.

Prop Steven Kitshoff, locks Jean Kleyn and Lood de Jager, and utlility backs Canan Moodie and Damian Willemse are all sidelined by injury.

South Africa and Ireland meet in Pretoria and Durban before the Springboks face World Cup darlings Portugal in Bloemfontein on July 20.

South Africa squad to face Ireland in two-Test series

Forwards: Phepsi Buthelezi, Ben-Jason Dixon, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Thomas du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Johan Grobbelaar, Vincent Koch, Siya Kolisi, Frans Malherbe, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Salmaan Moerat, Franco Mostert, Ox Nche, Trevor Nyakane, Evan Roos, Kwagga Smith, RG Snyman, Gerhard Steenekamp, Marco van Staden, Jan-Hendrik Wessels, Jasper Wiese.

Backs: Lukhanyo Am, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Damian de Allende, Faf de Klerk, Andre Esterhuizen, Aphelele Fassi, Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu, Cheslin Kolbe, Jesse Kriel, Willie le Roux, Manie Libbok, Makazole Mapimpi, Handre Pollard, Cobus Reinach, Morne van den Berg, Edwill van der Merwe, Grant Williams.

Standby: Jean-Luc du Preez, Joseph Dweba, Neethling Fouche, Celimpilo Gumede, Elrigh Louw, Wilco Louw, Ntuthuko Mchunu, Ruben van Heerden, Andre-Hugo Venter, Suleiman Hartzenberg, Jordan Hendrikse, Ethan Hooker, Quan Horn, Siya Masuku.